Garrett Hoelscher spent three years watching his Wall Street co-workers lead sterile, passion-less lives before he realised, I want to make waffles for a living.He remembers working as a RBS summer employee 2 years ago, looking around, and thinking –
“No body here is passioniate. It’s all just numbers and spreadsheets.”
And at ING, where Hoelscher was a summer analyst, he saw the same thing.
“There was no character,” he says. “Everyone was married to their job.”
And lots of people “smoked 2 packs a day,” he says, which he didn’t like at all.
It’s totally different from his life on the mountain, where he’s about to start making waffles for a living, using a secret recipe he has spent over 4 months perfecting.
“I learned the dynamics of dough and how to bake,” he explains, “Then, finally, I figured out what worked.”
The idea clicked when Hoelscher took a weekend off work as a stockbroker at Wedbush Investments in LA to go skiing in Stratton, VT.
He had spent the week cold calling potential clients and thinking, “I want to be the guy getting the calls,” when the sweet aroma from Stratton’s mountainside waffle shack wafted into his nostrils.
Lightbulb. He could build waffle shacks on ski mountains where they hadn’t been built yet, like Aspen.
Hoelscher teamed up with two friends from Brunswick, a private high school in Greenwich, CT, Colin Constantine and Brian Wells, and prepared a business plan (part of which is embedded below we took it down, it’s top secret) to submit to the Aspen board.
Some of the questions they answer in the plan are funny, like whether or not seating around the waffle shack will crowd skiiers (no), and whether its smell will annoy the people who don’t want waffles or not. See below for the answer.
There will be no foul odours produced by our product. When baked our waffles produce a warm vanilla scented aroma that is similar to a vanilla candle, and quite pleasant. We cannot imagine that anyone would ever be offended by this fragrance.
Quite the opposite, say the entrepreneurs. They anticipate the smell from their waffles will be so intoxicating, it will increase business to their competitors, in neighbouring shops.
Wherever we are located, our product’s aroma will help to draw foot traffic to the surrounding stores.
Another great thing about their new business – they’ll be working with their hands from day one, when they start constructing the hut themselves.
Here’s something their finance friends, mostly guys they went to high school with, can’t say:
“We’re using reclaimed timber from the local beetle kill here,” says Hoelscher, who plans to build another hut on a second Aspen mountain later this year.
With two huts, the business should be fairly profittable, bringing in a conservative estimate of about $200,000 in the first year, he says.
He won’t make as much as he would have as a stockbroker this year, but he’s happy.
“I didn’t want to be a pawn in someone else’s scheme,” he says.
And there you have it. He didn’t like the Wall Street mould his Greenwich friends were pouring themselves into, so he made his own, a waffle mould.