A year ago, David Wolpin’s business, Kredl’s Corner Market, was on the brink of bankruptcy. Though the business had become profitable again after undergoing an ill-advised expansion in 2014 that left it in dire financial straights, it was still in trouble.
“I had returned the business to profitability a year ago, but I still had no mortgage, I had no financing,” says Wolpin.
During this time, Wolpin talked to a lot of people in the business community who wanted to offer their help and advice. One of them was Blair Hyslop, the owner of Sussex-based Mrs. Dunster’s.
“Blair offered to help in an advisory way, so that’s when we first met,” says Wolpin.
Last Thursday Mrs. Dunster’s announced it would be purchasing Kredl’s. It was a move Wolpin wouldn’t have expected a year ago.
“These things evolve over time and I don’t think when we met back then we thought this would be the outcome, ” he says. “But quite frankly it’s a good fit.”
Though giving people access to fresh, local, healthy food has been a passion of his, running Kredl’s wasn’t something he thought he always had to do. But he says he did it because there was nobody else around able to do what the business was doing.
For years I’ve said, ‘I don’t need to be the person doing this, I just want to see it done,'” he says. “If everybody had access to local food and really fresh groceries and minimally processed foods that have ingredients you can pronounce, I wouldn’t feel any need to have done what I did. I have 500 business ideas, this doesn’t need to be the one.”
Wolpin says he will be staying on Kredl’s management team as an employee for as long as he is needed, adding that he’s looking forward to decreasing some of his workload.
“There’s a lot of information to communicate and to teach,” says Wolpin. “My plan is to be on the management team for a year or so and beyond that, whatever is needed. If I want to stay longer, I’ll stay longer. They are happy to have me and they want me to stay as long as I’m willing to stay.
“For me, I want a bit of a break. I have two other businesses so I have lots going on, but it would be quite nice to tone down the 90-hour works weeks and maybe do a little bit less.”
Wolpin currently runs Dave’s Produce Packs, a produce delivery business and Driver Dave’s, an airport shuttle service out of Halifax. He says he will continue running these businesses, but once his work at Kredl’s is completed, he’s not sure what’s next.
“I have many business ideas,” he says. “I might put more energy into what I’m already doing. I’m probably going to take a break. The world is my oyster. I’m not sure. I’m young, I’m very grateful for that. I’ve got lots of wonderful people in my life and a lot of business friends that I’m excited to possibly work for.”
One of the biggest things Wolpin has learned over the past couple years is his strengths and weaknesses. He learned he isn’t a natural manager but has strong talents in many other areas of business.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned about myself is I had to learn how to be a manager over the last two years in order to turn the business around. Management isn’t a love of mine. It’s not natural,” he says. “Building, creating, starting, being a workhorse, solving problems, sales, marketing, those are all things that I’m good at naturally and I love. Part of this whole process was realizing that’s what I want to be doing.”
One idea he does have is helping other businesses that are facing similar challenges that Kredl’s did. He says the support and help Kredl’s received from other businesses in the province has inspired this.
“People would be surprised how many businesses out there are struggling,” he says. “I’m inspired to maybe see what I can do. There are businesses out there who have sales problems and management problems and need help. There’s a lot of businesses out there where there is an owner who is not good at everything, none of us are.”
That was my case. I didn’t have the right support in the right areas and so that crippled us. We managed to save it, but not everyone does. I’m inspired by my own story and inspired by those who helped us, so that, might be something I look at doing as well, see if I can pay it forward.”
Regardless of what’s down the road, Wolpin says he will remain an entrepreneur.
“There’s a lot of discussion in the entrepreneur world on whether you’re born an entrepreneur or you become one,” he says. “I think I always felt different from people and I don’t think it’s something you become. It’s either you’re an entrepreneur or you’re not. Very few people in my family are in business, so I certainly didn’t learn it from anywhere, it was inside of me.”