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Stirring up profits.

When Bill Washington quit his $40,000-a-year job as a tax accountant to make potato salad, everybody thought he was crazy. "I knew nothing about the food business," Washington admits, "but I knew I had a good product."

His talent for dicing a few potatoes and mixing in Creole spices has paid off in a big way. The 41-year-old entrepreneur is now the owner and president of Oakland, Calif.-based Mother Dear's Creole Salads, which Washington founded six years ago. He says that this potato salad is sold at supermarkets and deli counters in more than 350 stores in northern and southern California and Nevada. And last year, he sold an estimated $375,000 worth of salad. (He projects 1992 sales of $1 million on potato salad alone for his two-employee firm.)

So why did this Southern University graduate, who majored in business management, trade in his calculator for an apron? "When I moved from my hometown of New Orleans to the Bay area 16 years ago, the Creole food was horrible," he recalls.

In 1986, Washington started test-marketing his salad by giving away free samples at food festivals, trade shows and conventions. His salad also placed first in a food-and-wine contest.

He started out by preparing batches of potato salad from his apartment on a part-time basis. But as demand increased, Washington quit his job, used $1,500 in savings, and in 1989, opened Mother Dear's Creole Salads as a full-time business.

Washington now has his sights set on distributing his Creole potato salad nationwide and plans to introduce more New Orleans-style Creole products to the market in the near future.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Mother Dear's Creole Salads
Author:Gite, Lloyd
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:May 1, 1992
Words:272
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