Interview done by Michael Wilkerson
MW: Please introduce yourself?
DF: My name is Dennis Flynn, I am the owner/operator of a small food manufacturing company called “Setter Mountain Food Group, Inc.” Setter Mountain Foods manufactures tw0 (2) types of BBQ Sauce and a Marinara Sauce. We also manufacture “Wine Jellies”; these are all made from wine that is made in Virginia, most of which are grown within 75mi. from our office/plant.
MW: What project are you using “Kickstarter” for?
DF: We decided to use “Kickstarter” to aide funding for our own company, “Setter Mountain Food Group Inc.” Having now used Kickstarter, my wife and I are looking at assisting other start-up companies to help them grow and maybe achieve that elusive American Dream! There are several projects that I’m interested in following.
MW: How much money are you looking to get/or got ?
DF: Believe it or not, that was a tough question to answer. It would be easy to say “Oh, just a couple of million”, but when all was reviewed and a realistic budget put in place, we asked for $20,000 dollars. After the allotted time we had only gotten pledges for approximately $4500 dollars. Alas, we didn’t get any funding from “Kickstarter”. My wife and I have decided we will try again at a later date. Our original goals were set up to allow us to purchase larger quantities of consumables and additional advertising. Setter Mountain is actually already in 7 wineries and 6 small “Mom & Pop” stores in Virginia. We wanted funding to help us take the next step to becoming a larger operation, maybe get into operations like “Trader Joe’s” or “Whole Foods Market”. We would have qualified for their minimum requirements had we met our goal. These larger chains have some very strict requirements concerning distribution and quality control. By the way, NONE of our products contain, additives, coloring or preservatives.
MW: Have you used Kickstarter before?
DF: As I had stated earlier, we are not ad versed to trying again or funding other projects. It’s a real interesting system they have going!
MW: When do you think you’ll have the finished project?
DF: Our little company does not have any plans to quit? We are trying to experience the “American Dream”. No matter what happens, we at Setter Mountain believe we will survive and become a company people want to purchase products from and will always know we tried our best and presented our customers with the best products we could make.
MW: What made you decide to do this project?
DF: This was truly a matter of survival. After eight (8) years of poor economic policies put out by our government, the telecommunications company that I used to work for went “belly up”, followed by a long list of other contracts/companies that failed we decided that it was time to do the other thing I was good at doing… Cooking! This paid for my education during college days and some bills the rest of the time. I consider myself a “retired chef”. I worked in the industry for almost twenty five years, even a small stint overseas in Greece; most of the time though was in Maine and up and down the East Coast.
MW: Give me a day in your life?
DF: First, I’d like to say, that people who believe working for yourself or being your own boss is “ apiece of cake” or an easy way of living… are what I call “just foolish” Without a doubt, the hardest any person will ever work is when they work for themselves, being their own boss. In my case, my day starts around 0430 waking up and driving my wife to the commuter lot so she can get a ride to work which allows me to use the car during the day. By 0630 I’m at my desk answering emails, checking on internet sales, doing “the books” and trying to enjoy breakfast before the dog gets to it (he will drink my coffee too if I’m not careful). After that it pretty much “full speed ahead”, production lists are created and started, bottles and jars are sanitized and readied for filling, sauce ingredients are collected and preparations are made to cook them. Obviously, I can’t leave the kitchen while food is being prepared so this time is used for “daily administrivia” etc. If there isn’t much cooking or packaging to do that day, I am in the car and on the road to tending to customers re-orders or trying to generate new sales leads. If I’m on the road, I get home about 1900hrs and begin answering the day’s emails and phone calls and doing any warehouse work or inventory work that needs to be done to keep everything running smoothly. Fortunately for me, when my wife returns home from her job she is almost always willing to help me when needed.
MW: What would you like to say in closing
DF: To the people who made a pledge to “Setter Mountain” I would really like to say “THANK YOU” for your support and belief that we could succeed. Well in fact we did succeed, we may not have made our pledge goal but what we gained through interacting with folks about kickstarter was very interesting and insightful. As I looked through some of the other requests for “funding” it became clear that there are quite a few great ideas and great performing arts projects that are really worth getting involved with. We at Setter Mountain Foods are going to try kickstarter again in the future and as I said earlier, I/we can’t wait to get involved with some of these programs.
Please don’t forget about Setter Mountain Foods, our products are available on-line at http://www.settermountain.com with the holidays approaching, we do ship our products around the country (We even sent bottles of “Smokey Bourbon BBQ Sauce to Afghanistan). Thank you!
(Food review coming very soon)