<b>Short bio: </b>
Born and raised in Beltsville, Md. Started business at age 22 out of mom's garage after dropping out of college.
<b>Why did you choose this particular business? </b>
I was raised by pseudo-hippies who believed in whole and healthy foods. The opportunity arose to work at an organic produce wholesaler and one thing led to another.
<b>Why did you choose to work for yourself rather than as an employee for someone else? </b>
I was a bad employee and got fired a lot. I thought that most of the bosses I had were pretty incompetent and it was hard to take orders from people who I thought made poor decisions.
<b>What have you learned from being in business? </b>
I learn something new every day, it seems. Probably the most important thing I've learned from being in business is that "planning" is over-rated. It seems like most people have preconceived notions as to how things are supposed to be in life. Not only are many things unforseen, but I think it's mostly a waste of time to try and figure out all the things that can happen. Too much energy is wasted on trying to figure out ways to prevent potential problems. I think that a truly successful business is one that can adapt and solve problems quickly. To be successful in business, you don't have to be smart... you just have to be willing to take risks, work hard, adapt, and not make any large mistakes.
<b>Share an anecdote of a challenging or humorous experience or biggest surprise learned from working your business: </b>
I remember when I first started MOM's. I was delivering groceries door to door in the middle of the night and shipping products via UPS across the nation. I was a two-man operation — myself and a part-timer. 60 Minutes ran a story on alar in apples. Suddenly, the harms of chemicals in food became a major issue in the media. As a result, we got strong testimony one day on the Diane Rehm show from a customer who called in to talk about how great our produce was. That afternoon, I answered about 400 phone calls (I had one phone line that only had call waiting). There was a time during that week and the following weeks when I worked for 40 straight hours... starting work at 8 a.m. one day and getting home at midnight the following day. I never got tired, though... adrenaline was always pumping through my veins. I remember I was so excited one freezing morning that I was dancing around my small warehouse like that guy in Footloose. I was manic!
<b>What have been the advantages and/or disadvantages of operating a business in Alexandria? </b>
Alexandria has been good to us. The people in general are courteous and very supportive. We actually get quite a few customers from D.C. as well, given Alexandria's proximity to Capitol Hill, etc.
<b>Short bio: </b>
Kaye started at MOM's as a produce manager about 10 years ago. She grew up across the river in Suitland.
<b>Key staff: </b>
Lourdes, asst. GM; Alonzo, supplements/HBA manager; Dave, grocery manager; and Ada, produce manager.
<b>Description of services and/or products: </b>
We pride ourselves on having the highest quality produce anywhere. We offer only organic produce. We also have a very wide variety of hard-to-find and unique organic grocery products at guaranteed lowest prices. Other departments include supplements & body care, bulk foods, dairy, frozen foods, pet food, gourmet cheeses, and gluten-free foods.