“I started making jerky in 1998,” said D’Antonio. “I’m a 28-year diabetic, and I needed a healthy alternative. I was able to make recipes consistently. It caught on with family and friends.”
In 2016, D’Antonio decided to quit his day job in the corporate world and start Thom’s Jerky. He set up shop in a 1,200-square-foot facility in the Marchwood Shopping Center in Exton. Today, the business offers, both in store and online, a fairly extensive product mix that includes beef jerky, fruit jerky, and vegetable jerky.
D’Antonio, who benefited from the counseling and mentoring services offered by SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties, was one of six winners of the organization’s Small Business Achievement Award. SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties – which provides free professional business counseling to local entrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits – recently hosted its ninth annual awards luncheon at the Concord Country Club.
Big Boize BBQ Sauce in Thorndale and Rooted in New London Township were also recognized, as were the following Delco-based businesses:
- Karite Naturals LLC (Springfield)
- River Avenue Digital LLC (Media)
- Julie Sebastian Softball and Fitness Instruction (Newtown Square)
Elected officials on the federal, state, and local levels, as well as educational, community, and business leaders from both counties, were present at the highly regarded event to congratulate the award winners and to recognize SCORE for its valuable contributions to the small business community.
D’Antonio employs several part-time workers, but still does the “secret” marinating. Although sales were increasing, he recognized that the business was not operating efficiently. For example, while sales were up, the business was still not profitable.
SCORE mentors Dave Houseman and John Nelson helped D’Antonio improve the business operation, accounting, and profitability. By consolidating manufacturing processes and minimizing product waste, Thom’s Jerky expanded its product offerings to include freshly ground beef, soups, and chilis made from scratch, all by utilizing the beef trimmings from his Jerky processing. Furthermore, a review of the cost structure revealed that a price increase was required.
With SCORE’s assistance, Thom’s Jerky became profitable for the first time in the third quarter of 2018.
Click here to learn more about Thom’s Jerky.