Wally Blume worked in the dairy business for two decades, first for grocery chain Kroger and later as sales and marketing director for a large dairy in Michigan, where he helped market new ice cream flavors.
But soon after another company purchased the dairy, Blume decided that the once-innovative company was falling short, prompting him and a couple of colleagues to quit to develop and market their own flavors.
In 1995 the partners had a national hit with Moose Tracks (a combo of vanilla, peanut-butter cup, and fudge), and within a few years Blume decided he’d be better off running his own company.
In 2000, Blume mortgaged his house and every other asset he could, plunking down what he says was “seven figures” to buy out his partners and start anew. That same year, he launched Denali Flavors, a marketing and licensing company that creates new ice cream and dessert concepts for independent regional dairies, allowing them to compete with the big national dairy brands.
Looking back, Blume says: “I knew I could run it better than my partners. In my opinion there was just no downside to the risk.”
While Blume’s path from corporate suit to entrepreneur may sound familiar, his story has a twist: Blume was 61 when he went into business for himself.
Continue Reading: “Seniors As Entrepreneurs”
Photo by BusinessWeek.
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