There is no age limit on success!
As a recently retired–over 50–baby boomer myself, I am always on the lookout for people who have proven it is possible to succeed in a big way later in life. To be sure, there is no age limit on starting a business or realizing entrepreneurial success. And it is also a certainty that more and more retired baby boomers are looking for ways to supplement their income and lifestyle.
Wally Blume was 57 years old when he struck out on his own - in search of success in the ice cream business. The year was 1995 and Wally was wrapping up a long career with the supermarket giant Kroger Corporation. Wally’s path to what could be described as gargantuan success as a business owner, is not that different from the trek of other successful startup businesses owners who learn the ins and outs of a particular industry while working for someone else. Armed with what is essentially insider knowledge of the industry or trade, they strike out on their own with the belief that they can do it better.
This was a very essential part of the success of whiz-kid now Billionaire Jared Isaacman.
At Kroger Wally had worked for years in the new product development department, and primarily with dairy products. In one particular interview about the success of his company, Denali Flavors, Wally was quoted as saying "I knew the ice cream business. It wasn't really as risky as it sounds. I knew sales potential and profit potential." It was Wally’s insider knowledge of the ice cream and dairy retail business that allowed him to build what is today a $100 Million business.
How did he do it?
Like many who have an entrepreneurial spirit Wally wanted to go into business for himself for most of his adult life, but never had the seed money to make it happen.
Refusing to give up on his dream of being a business owner, Wally and two colleagues continued to dabble in the ice cream underworld and eventually came up with a new flavor – Moose Tracks. The new flavor was an absolute hit. Wally was finally able to make the transition from employee to entrepreneur. He and his two partners started the business in 1992 but Wally would buy out both of his partners in 1995.
To do this he had to put up his house, cars and everything else he owned of value to raise enough money for the buyout. But Wally had faith that his business plan was solid.
Jump ahead 20 years and Denali Flavors now sells ingredients for 30 copyrighted ice cream flavors which includes the original Moose Tracks. Part of the business model for Denali Flavors is licensing their flavors to dairies that then produce the ice cream.
Here is a description of the business today, direct from the Denali- Moose Tracks website:
“The creative force behind Moose Tracks is Denali Flavors. Owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Wally and June Blume, Denali Flavors has grown to become one of the nation’s leading developers and marketers of innovative flavors for the ice cream industry. Denali Flavors works with ice cream-producing dairies across the country to manufacture an array of regional and store-branded products, including many varieties of Moose Tracks, Caramel Caribou and other classic ice cream flavors. Moose Tracks innovation continues on with new flavor experiences in ice cream, novelties, cookies, snack mixes and flavored milks.”
What advice does Wally have for other aspiring entrepreneurs? Know your industry. "You have to figure out if there's a niche you can take advantage of," Blume says. "All our partners knew the industry and had been in it all our working lives.