A popular restaurant and the Venture Center helped launch a new company.
Al corso is a popular restaurant in Collins, Wisconsin. The intimate fine-dining spot, owned and operated by Alexandria and David Salm, is known for its extraordinary recipes and New American cuisine. “It seemed a natural evolution to sell our products online and in stores,” says Alexandria. “Al corso gave us an opportunity to validate our first products at Black Sheep Culinary Arts; however, as a totally new venture, we first looked to Fox Valley Tech for help on the business side of things.”
The couple originally thought about taking a few marketing classes before learning about FVTC’s Venture Center. “We immediately enrolled in the Pro-SeedTM Business Model Design program,” says Alexandria. “Pro-Seed gave us a roadmap to learn how to navigate our new business. It helped us correct a lot of what we were doing wrong, like not measuring sales strategies, for instance.”
The company’s new website, blacksheepculinary.com, went live in December with just a few products. “We will be adding new recipes to our website and launching products as we go along, both at the institutional level and in retail stores,” adds Alexandria.
Alexandria and David feel that both The Venture Center and Pro-Seed were critical to their success, and other entrepreneurs would benefit from the training as well. “Programs like Pro-Seed are essential when starting a new business,” says Alexandria. “I recently spoke to a woman in California who wanted entrepreneurial advice, and I told her that she either needs to find a similar program or come to the Tech.”