Jason Poole has always had a passion for food. That’s why he started working in restaurants when he was 13. Over the years, he worked the front of the house at many restaurants, serving in various functions—a busser, a bartender, a manager.
Now, he’s the owner of Preservation & co., a Sacramento-based small business that produces handcrafted, preserved specialty goods. Those goods include an award-winning Bloody Mary mix, pickled cayenne carrot sticks and Hellfire Hot Sauce, among other things.
Though he loved making foods of his own, Poole says he never wanted to go the “other side” of the restaurant, i.e., the kitchen—it was always just a hobby. The goal was to make his own “pantry stash” of tasty treats. But his friends eventually robbed his cupboard, so to speak, so he took his goods to farmers’ markets and grew his business from there.
The Art of Preservation
At first, preservation caught his eye because he was interested in how, back in the day, people needed it to survive the winter. Now, he says, “we have the luxury of doing it just because it tastes great.”
He isn’t the only one to think that his creations please the palate.
In 2012, Absolut Vodka deemed Poole’s Bloody Mary mix to be America’s second-best. That’s when the wheels started turning. Poole was working at a restaurant in Sacramento at the time of the announcement, which generated tons of local buzz.
“We went from having a fairly normal brunch to having a line all the way down the block just because people wanted to have this Bloody Mary,” Poole says with a laugh. “That’s kind of when I got the idea that it was time to grow up a little bit.”
A Business is Born
So Poole decided to start his own business, and lo and behold, Preservation & co. was born. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but now Poole employs five people and his business is growing.
“It took us 10 months from when we signed the lease ‘til we got the permit to start building,” Poole says. “That took a lot out of us. But you do it because you love it.”
That 10-month process left Poole’s company strapped for cash. When Preservation & co. opened its doors, it was able to stay afloat. But because it takes time for invoices to be paid, the company didn’t have access to the cash it needed to grow at the pace Poole expected.
“If you have an invoice and it’s getting paid 30 days later, which is more likely 40 days later by the time you actually get the check, you’re not going to grow in those 40 days because you have all that money locked up.”
Needing Cash to Grow
After pursuing other options like factoring companies and FDA loans, which take six months, Poole says—“I don’t know many people who have six months in business where you can just hang out and wait for money to arrive”—he found Fundbox and started clearing his invoices right away. For a small fee, Fundbox advances payments on outstanding invoices.
Poole hasn’t looked back.
“I knew I needed to get a hold of outstanding funds so I could reinvest them right away,” he continues. “If I had to wait 40 days for every invoice to come in, we’d be where we were 10 months ago.”
Growing with Fundbox
Here’s a great example of how Poole used Fundbox to grow his business: Recently, Preservation & co. received an order from a new account which at the time was twice the size of the company’s largest order to date. The client wanted Balsamic Beet Slices, which wasn’t a problem, except that preparing beets for preservation takes a whole lot of time without the proper technology.
Poole used Fundbox to advance payments on his invoices and he was able to buy a machine that streamlined his operations. While it takes three employees an hour each to peel 25 pounds of beets, the machine does it in three minutes. Translation: Enormous order easily fulfilled.
“That’s what having funds could do for you—it can get those bigger accounts and help you grow,” Poole says. “Here’s why I’d recommend Fundbox: Your potential is limitless if you have the capital to do what you feel is the right thing to do for your business. There’s really no reason to wait for invoices to clear.”
How about some advice for small business owners?
“Whatever you think it’s going to cost and how much time you think it will take, just double it right away,” Poole says with a laugh.
Those local to Northern California will be able to find Preservation & co. products in their local Whole Foods; readers living elsewhere can buy them online.