Its not every day that you come up with an idea that will change your life forever. But that is exactly what happened to me on February 21, 2001. I was working my tail off in the spice shop, as usual when a young man walked through the front door. He was wearing a Yankees ball cap, blue t-shirt, and a pair of cargo shorts. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I greeted the young man and asked him what it was that I could help him with. He said that he was shopping for a gift for his mother’s birthday. He and his family had just moved to Norman from New York City and apparently there was a spice shop down the street from their flat that sold a spice that his mother loved. He had been looking for the spice since moving but was having no luck. I asked him what the name of the spice was and although I had heard of it, we did not carry it. Light bulb went off in my head.
I hopped on the shop’s computer and told the young man that I could order it for him through the manufacturer’s website. He shook his head no and said that his mother’s birthday was the next day and obviously the spice would not arrive in time. I ordered a case of it anyway and told him to stop by in a week or two and I would give him a good deal on the spice. He thanked me and went on his way. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if there was a website that spice companies worldwide could sell their spices from one central location. I had some friends in Norman that were quite educated on the internet and how to build websites. I set up a meeting with them and told them my idea. Needless to say, they were intrigued and agreed to work on the site with me to achieve my goal.
The website started out as a very simple webpage with only a few spice vendors taking advantage of the idea. Within two years, however, the website had grown into a very well known site in the spice world. Viva Pablo was the name of the website and let me tell you the best part. People pay a lot of money to advertise on popular websites. I hate to brag, but the money was really starting to roll in. Companies from all over the country were starting to take advantage of the popularity of my website. And it wasn’t just spice related companies. I had kitchen remodelers, knife manufacturers, and even a roofing company, Norman Roofing Co. right here in good old Norman, Ok was advertising on my site. It was crazy.
At year 5 I had over 2,000 spice vendors using my website’s services. All of them were paying a monthly membership fee as well. I was able to sell our quaint little house in Norman and buy the house of our dreams in nearby Oklahoma City. I even bought season tickets to the NBA team here in Oklahoma City…for the whole family!!!.
The website continues to be a powerhouse in the spice world and the sky is the limit for what it can do for me in the future. Once again, I am not writing this article, or any article on the site for the purposes of bragging. I’m just trying to show how a great idea, hard work, and perseverance can pay off. One of the greatest advantages of my success is the ability to travel all over the world. Whether its for business or pleasure, I spend a large part of my life seeing the world. In my next article, I will tell the story of my most recent trip, to Ireland. Believe it or not, they have some great spices in Ireland. Till next time…