Business Advice with a Kick

New York - Bob Chory, CEO of Valente Yeast, a century-old ingredient company in Queens, NY, said that every meeting with his SCORE Advisory Board teaches him something new about running his company that he hadn’t considered before.

“It’s like that feeling you get after someone gives you a suggestion and you don’t want to admit it but you see right away that they know better and you should listen to their advice,” Chory said. “Each member of our Advisory Board has been there before with their own company so they can see down the road and make suggestions based on situations we haven’t even thought of yet.” 

One example was the time Chory’s Advisory Board told him and business partner Tom Siegenthaler to end their cash-and-carry service because it didn’t make financial sense.

“It was an old part of our business that we thought customers relied on, but when we saw how much it cost us compared to the $60,000 it brought in, we realized that we had to let it go,” Chory said.  

Another of these moments for Chory and Siegenthaler was realizing that they should rent all of their delivery trucks from one company rather than renting several trucks from a few different rental firms. Their Advisory Board insisted that leasing their trucks from one company would strengthen the business relationship and give Valente some bargaining power in the event a truck broke down and they needed one on short notice or some other unforeseen problem arose and they would have an unusual demand on the provider.

“They made us see that holding a larger account with one company was advantageous to just renting one truck from this company and one truck from another company,” Chory said.

Valente’s Advisory Board also suggested the company establish an award system for high-achieving employees, develop a sharper marketing focus, update and improve its website and update decals on its fleet of delivery trucks.  

SCORE is a nonprofit association of volunteers that works with small business owners to help them start, grow and expand their companies. Supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the New York City SCORE chapter is co-located in SBA’s office in lower Manhattan.

Beth Goldberg directs SBA’s New York District Office and works closely with SCORE, one of the agency’s Resource Partners, to support more than 1.6 million small businesses in 14 counties of down-state New York.

Goldberg said, “SCORE is a one-of-a-kind service for small business owners. More than 60 expert advisers volunteer their time to counsel small business owners in both one-on-one and group settings. These mentors have worked through their own business growing pains and leverage that experience to guide other entrepreneurs.” 

Diane Drey, a SCORE volunteer with more-than 30 years of experience in the bottled water manufacturing and distribution industry, said that the Advisory Board is similar to a Board of Directors.

“We assign a team of mentors with expertise to match the client’s challenges and work with them on a long-term basis. A main difference between SCORE’s Advisory Board and a board of directors, however, is that the Advisory Board has no binding authority over its clients other than the force and wisdom of it’s advice. We impart the lessons we’ve learned through running our own companies to suggest to other companies how to avoid or get out of similar challenges we already faced.”

And, Drey added, the Advisory Board is a donation-based service.

“The Advisory Board works with small businesses whose sales are more-than $5 million per year and that employ 25 employees or more. We want to help you grow your business and avoid some of the mistakes that we made while running our own companies,” Drey said.

Since starting with the Adviosry Board in 2016, Chory and Sigenthaler have increased their fleet of trucks by 25 percent. Sales are up nearly 40 percent and they’ve doubled their number of employees to more-than 30.

Their company delivers more than 1,500 ingredients to bakers, restaurants, grocery stores and other distributers within a 70-mile radius of its location in Queens.

“If New Yorkers are eating it,” Chory said, “Valente Yeast is selling it.”

 

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To learn more about Score’s Advisory Board, email AdvisoryBoardinfo@scorenyc.org, or visit the Advisory Board website: https://newyorkcity.score.org/score-advisory-board

Learn more about Valente Yeast by visiting the company’s website: www.valentebakerysupplies.com

 

Company Name: 
Valente Yeast
Location: 
Queens, NY