Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jake Dombroski, COO of New Kent Winery, located in New Kent, VA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a family-owned and operated craft winery, and brewery focused on handcrafted products made from Virginia-sourced ingredients. We see customers from all over the US, mostly local but also many folks passing through Virginia.
Tell us about yourself
I started in the Virginia wine industry as a high-school senior, growing up in Northern Virginia, I was exposed to craft wineries at an early age and was always interested in farming. Naturally, I attended Virginia Tech, and while in school, my parents Joe and JoAnna, started the search to purchase a winery. After an extensive search, we found New Kent Winery, and we began to build it into the operation it is today. My passion for farming and creating exceptional products makes me continue the goals we have each and every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Operating one of the largest vineyards east of Interstate 95 in the state, growing very high-quality grapes to make our delicious wines.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest parts is navigating the changes in customer demand to give them a fresh new product before your competitors.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- People, people, people. Take care of your staff, and they will take care of you. Often you can get wrapped up in the operation that you forget all of your employees have other things going on in their lives that you don't know about. Keep them motivated and happy to come to work each day.
- Know your competition, but do not let them dictate your decisions. If you have a product or service customers enjoy or need, your quality will reign supreme over your competitor.
- Know how to set boundaries for yourself. It is critical to step away from your business and see what the world has to offer; this often sheds light on the problems you think you may have or may not even see at the time.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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