Entrepreneurial Finance Class Visits Spirit Specialty Solutions

flavorclipOn April 1, 2014, the Villanova Entrepreneurial Finance course, led by Professor Jeffrey Pelesh visited the headquarters of Spirit Specialty Solutions, Inc. Spirit Specialties designs and manufactures simple merchandising products primarily for food venues such as Wawa and Subway. This includes grill dividers, signage, and timers. Two of their most popular products, the Sellavator and Pan Minder are pictured here.

At this event, Mike Kurm, the founder and CEO of the Spirit Specialty, walked the class through how he started his business and how it operates today. Originally, Mike worked for a large manufacturing company as a sales representative. In this role, he spoke to his major clients and would always ask what else he could do for them. One of those clients was Wawa and they asked if Kurm could create a solution that would let Wawa employees know when coffee was no longer fresh. After toying around with various prototypes, Kurm created a successful product and realized there was a lot of demand. Kurm decided to leave his company and start Spirit Specialty Solutions so that he could begin selling this product, which he named Weiner Minder. Ever since Kurm has continued to launch new products on a yearly basis based on what his customers are demanding and he patents all the products he launches.

sellKurm taught the class not only about how simple ideas can be profitable if you take the risk to start a business, but also informed the class about the process of patenting and protecting your ideas. It was a great learning experience to both hear from Kurm and actually tour his manufacturing facility.