Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jennifer Delaye JDK Catering

I set out to do some research on the catering. My thought process was, wouldn’t it be cool to write about the first documented catering company and who started it. I typed “History of Catering” in Google and came across JDK Catering.

Upon reading the website, I found the person to be interesting, and as I read more it became more interesting.
Jennifer Delaye is the Chef/Owner of JDK Catering, a catering company that operates in the Harrisburg, Pa area.

Ms Delaye started in the foodservice industry at a young age. She started out operating seasonal food service kiosks with her brother and sister at Harrisburg City’s Recreational Center. In 1988, they all opened a restaurant in Harrisburg. While operating the restaurant, Ms Delaye noticed that a lot of their clients were ordering food take-out and delivery. Around the same time, she developed an interest in catering. She decided to transfer full ownership of the restaurant to her brother and created JDK Catering on her own.

She operated the business solo for many years and treated obstacles like opportunities. JDK now boasts a roster of 3,000 clients. Sales have grown from $25,000.00 in 1992 to $3.4 Million in 2007. They boast a staff of 20 Full Time and 250 Part-Time employees.

As a smart and ambitious entrepreneur, Ms, Delaye decided to restructure the company in 2007. She created the JDK Group which is an umbrella company over four independent event service companies. JDK Catering, Essential Party Rental, Imagine Event Design and Weddings by JDK are the individual companies.

I believe this move was smart and it has made me rethink the future and direction of The Spice Rack. I think that accidentally coming across Ms Delaye was probably one of the best things that could have happened.

Submitted by Jamaal Fuller

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Matthew Cain - Yellow + Blue Wines

Matthew Cain is the Founder and President of Yellow+Blue Wines, an Organic Wine company that imports from South America and Spain. Not only are the wines 100% Organic, but they are sold in TetraPaks, a universal packaging for liquid goods that need to remain fresh, such as juices and stocks. This packaging eliminates the expense and waste caused by using glass bottles for the wine, something that Cain found to be unnecessary with most wine drinkers consuming the wine soon after purchase, as opposed to years after the purchase. “Eighty percent of wine is drunk within a week. It doesn’t make sense to put nine liters of wine in a 40 pound box and ship it thousands of miles.” Cain stated that “in other countries people are using alternative packaging to bring down the cost of wine. It’s not just for poor wine but for good wine. Here in the US, it’s only been used as a gimmick.” Cain has worked in fine wine his entire life, in various countries, and says he has “no interest in bad wine.”
Instead of bottling the wine at the source, he has the wine transported in large “flexitanks” to Toronto, where the TetraPak materials are housed. The TetraPak packaging facility is certified organic to meet the standards of Yellow + Blue Wines. The wine sells for about $11 and the container holds about a third more wine than a standard bottle.
The process of growing, shipping, and packaging the wine already leaves about half the carbon footprint of traditional wines, but through carbon offsets and renewable energy credits from Renewable Choice Energy, Yellow + Blue Wines is carbon neutral. In addition to keeping it green, Y+B also contributes 1% of all its proceeds to, an organization that helps entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Cain dedicates his company to “finding a 21st century solution to an outdated business model.” Blending a traditional process with modern practices is what makes Y+B a new, fresh take on wine. Matthew Cain took something old and made it new again, wine has always been around, but now it is current and growing with the times. He found a solution to what he and many others perceived to be a problem, and he didn’t have to create anything new in the process, all of the tools required were already in existence and he put them all to practical use.

Schnuer, Jenna. Entrepreneur Magazine. May 2011. May 2011 .
Shannon, Chiara. K&L Wine Merchants. 15 February 2011. May 2011 .
Y+B Wines. Y+B Wines. 2010. May 2011 .

Submitted by: Kathleen Maurer

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Brian LeGette- “Serial” Entrepreneur

Brian LeGette is a philanthropist and entrepreneur responsible for starting companies in several fields. His first company, 180’s, a consumer apparel company makes 180 degree ear warmers. It was once Inc. Magazine’s ninth fastest growing privately held companies in the U.S.
Originally called Big Bang Products, the company was started by LeGette and his Wharton School friend, Ron Wilson. They both started out as engineers and knew they wanted to be entrepreneurs. They were both interested in athletics and decided to start a business together.
Their first idea, a made in China, a CD rack that rotated fell through. Wilson hit on the ear warmer idea as he had been thinking about it since his college days at Virginia Tech. He used to have to walk across its Quad every day and said it was like a big wind tunnel.
They went through a hundred different designs and finally had a prototype. Wilson started hawking them on campus. Their breakthrough came when they got a spot on QVC. LeGette sold zero the first few minutes on the air, the next few minutes he sold 5,000 ear warmers. He then became a regular on the show and the company took off.
They then decided to move the company to Baltimore and were joined by Wharton classmates and two toy designers from Milton Bradley and started trying to come up with other products. They started making sunglasses, beach towels, pool flotation devices and a line of collapsible beach chairs that turned into back packs which became the most successful.
The ear warmers, however, produced the most revenue, jumping from$1 million in sales in 1999 to $7.4 million in 2000. Staffing rose and the next year revenue went to $15.2 million and staffing increased to 36.
LeGette decided to start making some changes. The name then changed to 180s, he also changed the sales structure of the product. The success had come from selling the ear warmers in large department stores where they were available to everyone and were selling as fast as they could be produced. His new plan was to move the product to specialty running and skiing shops. It was then that the company decided to sponsor a team of nonprofessional athletes, Team 180s.
The shift in model affected the growth of the company and the need for more financing and more problems, including Wilson’s departure. Ultimately,  the company was turned over to a private equity firm which bought out the investors and took over controlling share of the stock.  The company had grown too quickly and needed significantly more capital.
LeGette left 180s and has since been involved in numerous ventures such as, an international medical laboratory accreditation, Big City Farms, which has set out to create a network of city-wide urban greenhouse operations in cities across the U.S. and ZeroChroma, a company that makes cases for mobile electronics.
Brian has an MBA from Wharton School and BS in Electrical Engineering from University of Maryland. He has received numerous awards, one of which is the Ernst and Young’s Maryland Entrepreneur of the Year award for consumer products. He also holds numerous patents and patents pending in many countries all over the world. He serves and directs on boards of several educational and philanthropic institutions. He is also the co-founder of the b4students foundation, a mentoring program that targets inner city youth in Baltimore and is currently considering ex-offender reintegration issues.
Submitted by
Lisa C. Lawson