Setbacks Set Up Local Startup for Success

Denali Boards is a local startup founded by Eric Harter and Joe Szeremet in Frisco, Texas.  Together they make hand crafted wood cutting boards. No two boards are alike, due to being made from unstained end cut wood.

“Joe and I both feel deep inside of us that every one of our products is part of us and represents us.” Harter said. “We want to create art for everyone’s kitchen.”

Harter and Szeremet founded the company this year after Szeremet had received many requests to make these cutting boards for others.  This was something he previously did as a hobby. Harter, the entrepreneur of the partnership, convinced Szeremet that they should pursue an out-of-the-box sales strategy by selling their product in places that usually would not sell cutting boards but would attract the same kinds of customers. That way their product stands out more as a specialty item.

As with any startup endeavor, the team experienced some pitfalls along the way, such as moisture in the manufacturing area (wood needs to be kept dry) and having enough working capital to keep going. By far the biggest setback, however, was when they named themselves Jo-Jo Boards and found a competitor with a similar name. They had to rename the business, change the website and update the bank accounts, all of which also added up to lost time and morale. The upside to the setbacks was that they found a name that fit much better and became experts at keeping track of details.

Szeremet still has his day job, but will tell you that nothing makes him happier than a customer wanting something that he crafted with his own hands. Harter, like a true entrepreneur, was tired of building businesses for others so he is happily invested in making this company a success.

Chastiny Lewis