Tasty Delite Perseveres for a Taste of Economic Liberty
By Patricia H. Lee
If Winston Churchill heard these words, he just might smile. It was Winston Churchill who stood before a crowded audience and, as the invited keynote speaker, uttered the words “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never. In nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Darryl Brown, the CEO of Tasty Delite International, Inc., is in his own way heeding the advice of a man he never heard.
In my position as director of the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship, I had the privilege of asking this aspiring entrepreneur, “What drives your determination?” Mr. Brown explained his persistence for me: “If you give up, you leave people in the lurch. We at Tasty Delite have a responsibility to the people who believe in us.”
Mr. Brown has taken a family recipe to a new level by exercising his economic liberty. He not only wants to become self-sufficient for himself and his original colleagues, but envisions the broader possibility of wealth and job creation for others in Chicago’s inner-city.
Two years ago, Mr. Brown made an appointment with the IJ Clinic to talk about a possible business idea. When he arrived at our office, he had a very light copy of a fax of the IJ Clinic brochure (barely readable and obviously copied over and over), a drawing of a box named Tasty Delite and an incomplete business plan. His vision, however, was grand. He knew he had a new cooking sensation in his three-in-one bake and fry coating mix. From this product, he hoped to support himself and others in the community who are also in dire need of employment. So on that day, we engaged this client and began helping him navigate the obstacles entrepreneurs face.
With intensive legal counseling and encouragement from the IJ Clinic, Darryl Brown and his colleague Michael Davis began to grow the business into what it is today. This past June, Tasty Delite earned a contract with Safeway Foods to distribute Tasty Delite to all of its stores nationwide.
The IJ Clinic currently represents more than 40 entrepreneurs and a few nonprofit organizations. The services cover such legal areas as intellectual property, licenses, permits, contracts, leases, zoning and some administrative representation. Several students, including Daniel Liljenquist, a graduate of the class of 2001 and IJ Clinic “Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year” award winner, provided vital services for this new enterprise. While a student in the Clinic, Dan crafted a non-disclosure agreement to protect the recipe, advised on corporate governance matters, reviewed contracts and handled intellectual property questions. As this company has grown, we have referred selected matters to pro bono counsel Lord, Bissell & Brook. Other firms, including Gardner, Carton & Douglas and Winston & Strawn have been instrumental in IJ Clinic referrals of business enterprises.
Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Darryl Brown’s success is a testament to that fact.
Patricia H. Lee is director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship.