The Entrepreneurship Club hosted another great speaker last Tuesday night, bring Dr. Joseph D. Salamone, DC, father of club President, Joe Salamone, to talk to students about the importance of networking. Dr. Salamone was accompanied by his lifelong friend and current business partner, Toni Vardiman.
Dr. Salamone grew up in Patterson, NJ, where he wrestled in high school. An unfortunate injury during his career, which required chiropractic treatment, showed Dr. Salamone that he wanted to be a chiropractor. After that he went out to Iowa, where he finished his degree in 3.5 years. He eventually found himself revolutionizing the medical field as he was one of the first chiropractors to work in a hospital. He spent 15 years, teaching how to include chiropractic practices in the emergency room and performed treatments on patients such as pregnant women who suffered from back problems.
After leaving the hospital industry, Dr. Salamone then opened a 25,000 square foot health club, with his office located right by MetLife Stadium. One of the first things he advised of those in attendance was to step out of your comfort zones for he did just that when asked to talk about injuries in the common workplace, resulting in about 40-50 new patients within the next week. Additionally, he would meet and treat athletes such as Andre Agassi, and even be asked to treat the Metrostars soccer team.
Over time, his network continued growing and expanding, leading to several business opportunities that he has invested some time in. One business venture in particular, which Dr. Salamone cites as his favorite of them all, is Mozzarella Man, which came to be when he met a perfumer, who was skilled in scents and tastes. After traveling to Italy and learning how to make fresh mozzarella, Dr. Salamone approached his friend about infusing flavor into the cheese, thus creating Mozzarella Man. After a few trial cheeses, they finally found the combination that sufficed their vision. Soon after that, the owner of ShopRite just happened to come into Dr. Salamone's office.
"Where'd you get this?" the man asked. "I want this in all the stores!"
Soon enough the cheese business took off.
"I was getting 2-3 calls a day," Dr. Salamone said.
As the cheese began selling at ShopRite, the demand soon reached about 100 pounds of cheese every 3 or 4 days, and soon enough, WakeFern wanted a piece of the action. The business took off so fast that Dr. Salamone eventually pulled it, in order for him to find a way to regulate production and sales without taking him away from the office. He has since found away to balance both jobs.
Mozzarella Man is not the only business Dr. Salamone has invested some time in. Grammy award winning artist, Jerry Wonder, a friend of Dr. Salamone, approached the chiropractor about a new type of liquor he wanted to hit the shelves. This drink, formally called Bonfun, is a wine infused cognac. Luckily for Mr. Wonder, Dr. Salamone knew the owner of Bottle King, and they were able to get the drink on the shelves.
AlignMed is another product that Dr. Salamone is excited to see hit the market. In an attempt to see bettering posture, AlignMed has released a vest that can be adjusted to any size to pull the wearers shoulders back. Overtime, the constant pulling on the shoulders will create better posture through muscle memory just as muscle memory can create poor posture over time.
One last product was a bear that can become both a hot pack and a cold pack that Dr. Salamone has been working on with his close friend Toni Vardiman. The two have known each other since they were 12, and Toni brings experience and connections from from Linens and Things that is currently getting the product into stores.
The two business partners wanted to share a couple tie bits of advice with the audience at the meeting.
Dr. Salamone says that the best business partner is someone that you've known for a long time. As far as networking goes, he says to join some sort of club, i.e. Rotary, Knights of Columbus, Free Masons, etc. This is a great way to meet as many people as you can. He also says to connect with as many people as you can on LinkedIn.
"Think outside the box," Dr. Salamone said, "Think of people of different genres, then try to know someone from each genre."
As for Toni, who found herself a Vice President at Linens and Things before the company fell, she talks about the importance of maintaing relationships for you never know when you may need to start over.
"You are what your friends are, you are who your friends are," she said. "Relationships are everything, EVERYTHING!"