I am sorry Oscar Mayer is leaving town. It will create hardships for people and the local economy. But rather than blame everyone for the change, let's do something about it. Here is what I propose:
1. We utilize the talent of so many of the fine cooks and kitchens and butchers in the area to create some cool, viable, organic, healthy sausages, hot dogs and meats. The country and the world needs more and better options in the area. So lets' ask the incredibly talented people and chefs from Forequarter, Graft, Tornado, Merchant, Marigold, Underground Butchers, Julep, L'Etoile, Harvest (I know there are a ton more please add to the list). We absolutely must have great product. We have a such a talent pool in this city. Let's use it. And, let's not forget about cheese!
2. We have a very hard-working and efficient manufacturing team that will be released from Oscar Meyer over the next year. Start by getting the best of the best people to make, package and ship great product. In addition, perhaps we could joint venture sustainable packaging materials with all Wisconsin companies.
3. Bring in the incredibly experienced and world renowned Brand Management Team from The University of Wisconsin - Madison to help create, build and develop the brand. Interns and ongoing projects can help build, support and nurture the brand over time.
In addition, Madison has some incredible ad agencies and one the best brand developers in the country. A few of them are friends. We will need the best the area has to be part of the company.
4. Have the City of Madison and The State of Wisconsin provide start-up money, a secure line of credit and tax deferment until the company reaches a certain threshold. Perhaps providing $20 million to start. I am not sure how the real estate and land works, but perhaps the city helps secure it. Call WEDC? Who knows. I do know some really good commercial real estate guys, maybe they can help figure it out.
5. Hit up some of the super smart tech people in the city to make cool apps and useful services to make the brand and related prodcuts hip, viral, and cost efficient to reach a global audience. (I know just the guy to head this up!)
6. Make it a public company. We could start by using some of the new crowd funding laws in Wisconsin. At a cap of $2 million (with audit) that will be too small to use on an ongoing basis. So we will need more. We have to be the Green Bay Packers of the food industry! There are a couple local banks that might be cool on the project.
We put together a smart and ethically cool board of directors and management.
7. Build and nurture a relationship with folks from Organic Valley. Tying into their mission and their distribution could be helpful for both companies. Organic Valley is well over a billion dollars in sales.
8. I've never been in the Oscar Mayer building, but I hear it is large. Probably larger than we need to start. So let's use part of it to house the homeless, part of it as creative space for artists, and part if it for a farmers market.
9. We open source everything and will be totally transparent with every detail of the business. We will show photographs and video of every aspect of how our products are made and delivered. And we will share every single financial detail. It's the only way to build trust.
10. We are profitable. We give back.
I think I've covered it all: Great product, efficient manufacturing, world class branding, financial support from the City and State, state of the art technology, public ownership and financing, great tech and distribution, and we help the homeless and build the arts. Also, we will be totally transparent. We are locally owned and we give back. Sweet!
Our mission: We exist to create, great tasting, healthy, sustainable foods with a community spirit and revolutionary price while leading the way for a socially conscious business. (Maybe this is too long!) Maybe it should be: Together we make great food and save the world!
The best part is, we get to crush Oscar Mayer and the Kraft business. (I like to compete!)
I almost forgot. We need to get some artists to build our own version of the weiner mobiles. Those are cool.
What's holding us back?
Have a name for the company? A product idea? A way to do it better? Please add all of your ideas and comments and concerns. We are open source after all!
Stick Vega is the American Gunpowder Artist, former CEO, and author of LESS KILLING. Stick currently lives and creates explosive pop art at The Blast Factory in Madison, Wisconsin. Not limited to one medium, he works in gunpowder drawings and paintings, photography, digital art and writing. Follow Stick onFacebook and/or Twitter.