IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship Featured Client
Featured Client: Mullens Foods
Entrepreneurship can be a saving grace for people struggling to get by in the city of Chicago. People who need to stay home to take care of seniors or children, people who have criminal records, and just plain anyone who has trouble finding a readymade job may find that the only way to make ends meet is to start a business. But, beyond paying the bills, entrepreneurship can also save a soul or preserve a person’s self-respect. Starting a business can give someone the chance to discover his full potential. Having the freedom to start businesses empowers people to dream big and to know they can make a difference in their own lives and the lives of their families, their neighbors, their employees, and their customers.
Entrepreneurship has been a saving grace for Officer James Mullen of the Chicago Police Department. In 1996, Officer Mullen was shot in the face while responding to a report of gunshots. He is now a quadriplegic who requires constant care from nurses, a wheelchair, and a machine to help him breathe. But he can dream big completely on his own.
Officer Mullen has kept himself active in the community by building a marvelous business that provides a delicious, wholesome treat for local families. His first product is apple sauce made with his mother’s recipe. It’s thick and spicy and, as the jar says, it tastes like apple pie without the crust. With a computer that translates his speech into text, Jim can correspond with brokers, distributors, and grocery stores about his product. He is a fantastic salesman: “My apple sauce will last a long time even though it has no preservatives like those other thin, watery apple sauces. But, once you open a jar, you won’t worry about the shelf life anymore, because you’ll gobble it up in one sitting.” And, due to his diligence and the delicious quality of his apple sauce, jars are now sold in grocery stores throughout Chicago and on www.mullenfoods.com.
Aside from being an apt businessman and an inspiration to many, Officer Mullen also provides an important educational experience for the IJ Clinic’s students. According to Mark Sayson, Class of 2010,
Working with our client, Mullen Foods, and its proprietor, Jim Mullen, was an invaluable experience for me, as a way to learn both about the transactional practice of law and the joys of interacting with a gracious client. I worked on an operating agreement for Mullen Foods' legal entity and provided advice relating to its intellectual property. On both these projects, I enjoyed the satisfaction of bringing my classroom knowledge to our client's concrete legal issues and thus to learn more than I ever could simply from my books.
Jim was also an ideal client with an inspiring story. From the moment he first rolled through our door, he had a smile on his face. One time, as we explained a legal issue that could require significant changes to his business, Jim's response was, "No problem. In my position, you learn to be flexible." And I think that I, in turn, learned how pleasant it is to be on the receiving end of such a great attitude. My profound thanks goes out to the IJ Clinic for providing me with the opportunity to work on interesting legal issues with a terrific client like Jim.
Buy a jar of Officer Mullen’s Apple Sauce today. You’ll never go back!