This month, we’re introducing some of America’s most inspiring entrepreneurs by interviewing all 18 finalists for this year’s Dream Big Small Business Awards. The awards program honors the achievements of some of our nation’s most remarkable small business owners and celebrates their contributions to the American economy. We’ll be spotlighting a different finalist every day between now and the Small Business Summit 2017, where the winners will be announced (register to attend here).
The company: The Cope Company Salt
Who’s in charge: Ronald Myer
Where are they: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
What they do: Their unique system eliminates the need for bagged salt
Q: How did your company get started?
Ronald Myer: Commercial water softeners require frequent dumping of bagged salt into the system. Handling of bag salt is a safety issue due to the need to lift and cut salt bags and the use of a forklift to move the pallets through the facility.
Our AUTOBrine® eliminates the need for bagged salt. The system is environmentally friendly because it eliminates the need for pallets, stretch wrap, plastic bags, energy to dry the salt and handling. The AUTOBrine® has saved our customers 27 million pounds of CO2, avoided sending over 1.2 million plastic bags to the landfill and eliminated all injuries related to handling salt bags.
Q: What barriers have you faced while building your company and how did you overcome them?
Myer: A barrier for growth was building a team that is enthusiastic about working for the company. We have only hired employees that enjoy working, are self-motivated and fit the culture of the team.
Q: What has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
Myer: I really appreciate the moments when an employee has a major personal issue, unrelated to work, and you are one of the first people they talk to.
Q: Tell us about your company’s role in the community. How do you use serve your hometown?
Myer: Our company has two designated programs to support our community. Our AUTOGive program each quarter allows a randomly selected employee to select one of our non-profit customers to receive $3,000.
We have an In-The-Community program that every two months designates an organization to receive $2,000 or more.Our employees are also very active in the community for many non-profit organizations and support of individuals in need.
Q: What does it mean to not only have created your own job, but to also create jobs for others?
Myer: There is nothing more enjoyable then seeing a parking lot full of employees’ cars. The goal is not to create just jobs, but to create an enjoyable environment that employees feel they have a meaningful impact and their skills are being utilized.
Q: What would you do if you won the Dream Big Award’s $25,000 grand prize?
Myer: 100% of the prize will be distributed to employees to their retirement fund.
Q: What’s your best advice for other small business owners who want to Dream Big?
Myer: Figure out what you can do better than anyone in the market and make sure there is a demand for your product and service at a price point that makes your business plan work.