In 2005, Damien Casten and Scott Kerrigan were preparing to launch Candid Wines, an innovative new business built around organizing unique food and wine experiences for professionals and corporations. A lesson learned at a Chicago SCORE-sponsored presentation proved valuable in helping the two novice business owners grow their company.

My successes. 

Candid Wines put together an event with NBA Coach Greg Popovich which took place on November 5, 2005, and raised $25,000 for the Chicago-based Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, with a portion of the funds directed to families of cancer patients whose lives had been disrupted by Hurricane Katrina. The high-profile event garnered substantial local and national publicity, and put Candid Wines in the public eye just as Damien and Scott were making the final preparations to launch the business. “The event got us off to a flying start,” Damien says.  “Yet all that attention cost me nothing but my time and energy.”

How SCORE helped. 

“Because we don’t a have person here who’s done a lifetime of selling, SCORE provides our role model,” says Damien.  “Their insights have helped me guage the progress of our sales and marketing efforts, and how to adjust our strategy as the relationship develops.  They’re such a good resource, and I’m thrilled that we had the opportunity to learn from them.”

What's great about my mentor? 

Damien recalls what he learned at a Chicago SCORE-sponsored presentation from guerrilla marketing expert Al Lautenslager about the importance of engaging the press. “Al’s presentation taught me the importance of telling the story to the press. The SCORE mentors who were on hand complimented his talk with great insights about tailoring a sales pitch to a particular audience, and being persistent.”

Candid Wines Finds Success With Help From SCORE