Four years later I started working for a small seafood company processing shrimp at the peak of the season. This job would mark the start of a 10-year involvement with the Maine fishing industry including work in processing, management, distribution, and wholesaling. During the slow periods between seasons I could always find a home in the meat room at Goodwin’s working for my father to supplement my income and support our family’s business.
While working as a lobster wholesaler I also started a small record label under which I released and licensed a number of solo projects, domestically and overseas as well as securing distribution through the label for my wife Sonya, aka. Sontiago. It was a daunting exercise in bridging art and business that I wouldn’t trade for the world. Had my schooling come before an attempt to run my art as a business, I would have had a much more informed and productive approach.
I am still an artist, just one that’s on hiatus. After reaching what I consider Indie success,with releases in Europe, Japan, Canada and the US, thousands of sales and reaching #3 on the college hip hop charts…. I had to check out. Too much industry, not enough heart.
At 27 I went to work at the Hannaford Distribution Center. This job tapped me directly into a link in the corporate fresh foods supply chain and provided me the time for touring, and then later, for school. After graduating with a degree in business administration, I took a part time job with So Po Wine Company while still working full time at Hannaford. This part time driving job turned into a full time position. I left Hannaford after 8 years to start the next phase of my career at So Po Wine Company, testing the waters with the purchase of a small store on the Gorham/Buxton line and a return to the fishing industry on Portland’s waterfront and a collaboration with Martha Puttnam of Farm Fresh.
By consolidating deliveries of goods that are destined for the same markets into a single stream, pooling products that are going in the same direction and offering customer maintenance, I can eliminate some of the costs associated with transportation for small farms, producers, and wholesalers. I am also able to pick up products in outlying locations from producers and bring their products to retail or wholesale customers on the other end of the route.
This model reduces fuel use, allows farms and businesses to keep their personnel focused on production rather than on transportation, opens up new markets for businesses in a cost effective way (without labor, fuel, and vehicle costs) and intrinsically offers the opportunity to cross market with other producers in the delivery pool. Many small farms, bakeries, beverage companies, and wholesalers do not have enough labor or product volume to justify expanding markets.