Who Would Start a Business in this Economy?

Chuck Mooty and his cousin, Paul Mooty, that’s who.

The cousins, both 51, began producing blankets in September at Minnesota’s Faribault Woolen Mill, which had been closed for two years. They now have about 35 employees and hope to have 100 next year, reports a USA Today article posted November 30th on azcentral.com.

In the article, Chuck Mooty, a former International Dairy Queen CEO who is Faribault Woolen Mill’s president and CEO, talks about some of the hurdles faced by the mill’s new owners. “You’re looking at a business you don’t know anything about. It needs significant capital to refresh  it. There were no customers. We didn’t know what cost and revenue structures  would make sense.” Still, he says, “we were stupid enough to think we could do it.”

Like their fathers before them, the two cousins wanted to create and run a business together, says Paul Mooty, a lawyer and the mill’s chief financial officer.  They were intrigued by the prospect of resuscitating an iconic American brand, he says, and agreed that “the time is right for a return to American manufacturing.”

To increase their odds for success, Chuck and Paul Mooty rehired a few people who had been working at the mill when it closed.  But they’re adding employees gradually “because we don’t want to overextend ourselves too early,” says Chuck Mooty.

Read USA Today’s article about the Mootys and other entrepreneurs pursuing startups in a down economy here.

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About Lynne Strang

I'm a writer who blogs about 40-and-older business owners. I am also the author of "Late-Blooming Entrepreneurs: Eight Principles for Starting a Business After Age 40." Outside of work, I enjoy reading, cooking, vegetable gardening and exercise (especially cycling).
This entry was posted in Business, Career Changes, entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Retirement and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Who Would Start a Business in this Economy?

  1. Mike Wilson says:

    This is encouraging for those of us who have been fighting in the trenches for years. This is my second recession since starting my business in 1999, and it is encouraging to see others willing to jump in and give it a go!

  2. lbstrang says:

    Mike, the perseverance you have is key. So is an ability to look at the big picture and put economic downturns into perspective — which may have factored into the Mooty cousins’ decision to jump in.

  3. Having spent half of my growing up years in Minnesota, I was deeply saddened to hear of the closing of this mill. What great news it was to find out they’ve reopened. Was doing some follow-up reading when I stumbled upon your blog. Great article. Keep up the good work!
    Here’s a bit about my experience with Faribault’s blankets: http://sustainingliberty.com/2012/01/26/wrapped-in-goodness/

  4. lbstrang says:

    Sounds like Faribault’s blankets are treasured items — and that you stumbled upon a real find in the military surplus store! Thanks for commenting.

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