From Snow Shoveler to Salt King

This week’s blog is from Dave Legasse, born entrepreneur, international deal maker, co-founder of The Salt Table (winner 2015 AND 2016 Flavor of GA contest!) and welcome addition to Savannah’s retail scene. Read on as Dave shovels, shakes and shares tips for running a successful business.  FYI – – The Creative Coast’s blogspot is Savannah’s sounding board for local thinkers, innovators, wanderers and wonderers. Guest bloggers share their thoughts, opinions and creative noodling from all over the map…

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As I look back to my youth in New England, I realize that my entrepreneurial spirit was evident when I first became able to handle a snow shovel. I also mowed lawns, sold newspapers, salves, TV Guides, and even greeting cards. I tried many of the “get rich quick” opportunities advertised in the back of comic books. Some worked and some were just gimmicks to steal ten bucks from a kid. Nevertheless, I liked making money and I had no fear of rejection.

I had my first paid “job” at about 10. A laundry truck driver hired me to run from door to door bringing fresh pressed garments and gathering up bags of dirty clothes. He paid me $2 for about 8 hours of work. A bread man was the next to hire me, and then a flower shop. Within a few years I became a door-to-door delivery expert. By the time I was 13 I had many jobs under my belt, and many lessons I still remember to this day. A kid earning $30+ dollars for 10 to 15 hours a week in the early sixties made me the rich guy among my peers. I even took on other paper routes and hired kids to work for me. Not bad for a poor kid moving from foster home to home to foster home. I never planned to be an entrepreneur, it just happened. When I hit my late teens, and out of high school, I declared myself a professional, skipped college, and started my first real part time business designing ads. Finally at 21, I formed a business assisting others on how to start a business, or rebrand an established business to achieve greater success. Soon I employed over 20 professionals. I’ve been self-employed ever since assisting countless organizations, from Fortune 500 companies, to government agencies, to little mom and pops. One of the first questions I’m asked is what is the most important factor to assure success. First, let’s agree that there are no assurances of success! An entrepreneur is a risk taker. I learned that – sometimes the hard way – failure can happen in the best of plans. I also learned that failure IS a lesson and something to avoid in the future. Whether good days or bad, I still got up each day, put on my tie (when I still wore ties) and looked for a way to make a living, on my terms. My advice to anyone considering this approach to life, don’t do it if fear of failure keeps you up at night. There are three things an organization must have to be successful:
  1. It must stand apart from every other potential competitor. An effective way to do this is to create opportunities. .
  2. You need a quick, clear, and compelling story to convince the buyer why he or she would want or need what you are selling. .
  3. You had better deliver the promise.
All easily said. Before you consider all this just simple 101 dribble, consider this: most startups fail because they just can’t deliver all three consistently. Let me give you a real life example how my wife and I created an opportunity. logo-salt-table-300x167About seven years ago Carol and I developed a new concept: our own brand of salts and seasoning products, The Salt Table. As a hobby, Carol is a genius when it comes to seasoning blends (and even smarter when it comes to finances. Her story is far more interesting than mine). But, if you are going to quit a great day job – which Carol did – at the height of a recession, to sell salt, it had better be damned good salt. I’m just sayin’. After two years of research, product development, and a solid business plan, we started production to fill a shop with our own brand of food specialty products. On July 4, 2011, our first retail shop opened in Savannah. It was an instant hit, although to this day many people entering the shops for the first time are both overwhelmed and confused. Fortunately, once they are instructed on how to sample the products, most get it, and most love it. From day one, we continually seek out ways to make our business unique from all others. To make my point, below is an article that I wrote a couple weeks ago for the Georgia Salzburger Society Newsletter. This represents recent example of an opportunity we developed to set The Salt Table apart. The word count for this article was limited, so many people important to this successful endeavor were not mentioned, but they will be soon. The point here is, always remember your friends, those who believed in you, those who gave you the benefit of the doubt, and even those who didn’t get in your way. So, after reading the following article, consider this every day, “How can I set my organization apart?”… because that’s where it all starts. For me, it started years ago. When negotiating the price to remove snow from a sidewalk, I offered to do the job first and let the buyer decide what I got paid when finished. I soon realized that approach worked almost every time, especially for a 10 year old! Most of my young competitors under valued the price people were willing to pay to keep snow out of their shoes. Dave Legasse  

Salt from Halle Germany returns to Savannah, Georgia, Again

An economic development partnership between companies based in Halle, Germany and Savannah, Georgia, renews a salt tradition centuries after Halle salt was first introduced to Colonial Georgia.

The two companies, Salt Table LLC, based in Savannah, and Deutsches Salinekontor GmbH, based in Halle, have agreed to sell Halle salt and Salt Table seasonings products in each country. The Salt Table produces and salts and seasoning blends in the United States. Halle salt is produced by the Hallore Company and distributed in Germany by Deutsches Salinekontor GmbH. The Hallore Company founded in 1491 is also based in Halle, Germany. The “boilt salz” (boiled salt) it produces comes from brine deep underground. For thousands of years the brine at this location has been boiled to produce a very pure salt.

The connection between the cities and salt goes back to the year following James Oglethorpe’s founding of Savannah in 1733, when the first group of Salzburgers arrived from Germany. With the help of Oglethorpe they claimed a spot along the Savannah River and founded the town of Ebenezer, near today’s Rincon, Georgia.

In August 2015, after several years of discussion, a meeting between Dave Legasse of the Salt Table and Thomas Staudenmayer of Deutsches Salinekontor resulted in an agreement of reciprocal trade with products sold in both countries.

The products can be purchased at Salt Table shops and online. The products are also available for wholesale in both countries. For more information visit www.SaltTable.com or call 912-988-1059.

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1 Comments

  1. Brian Judson on March 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    What a great story! Congratulations on the German deal.

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