SAWYER COUNTY -- LCO man, Curtis DeCora, was recently recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 award winners for 2020.
In November, Native News Online published the article The National Center Announces 2020 Native American 40 Under 40 Award Winners.
“The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (The National Center) on Tuesday released its 2020 class of Native American 40 Under 40 award recipients. The Native American 40 Under 40 recognizes 40 emerging American Indian and Alaska Native leaders under the age of 40 from across Indian Country. Nominated by their peers, the 2020 40 Under 40 winners have exemplified leadership, initiative, and, especially during COVID-19, resiliency and dedication towards their communities and businesses. This year's 40 Under 40 represent the best from academia, the medical field, government, non-profits, the legal field, and more.”
Among the 40 recipients was local entrepreneur Curtis DeCora of Sawyer County. Although it has been over a month since DeCora was recognized for this award, we were just recently notified of this and had a chance to catch up with Curtis and get a little more information and to learn more about the man behind the award. Through the wonderful magic of the interwebs (thank you Al Gore), Curtis and I began a back-and-forth Q&A chat via Google Docs which can be viewed in its entirety below.
DrydenWire: First, thank you for being flexible and doing this via email. Second, congratulations on being one of the 40 award winners!
Curtis: My pleasure! It’s a great opportunity to be in a position to share my story and this achievement.
DrydenWire: When did you find out that you were being given this award and how did it all come about?
Curtis: I found out from a friend. She was on the email newsletters from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. The email newsletter was released 2 days before they published on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
DrydenWire: I’ve looked at the list of the other 39 people awarded and I don’t really see any other names/locations from our area (Northwest Wisconsin) and more specifically, Sawyer County. To your knowledge, has this award been given to others in our area in the past?
Curtis: To my knowledge, this award hasn’t been given to anyone in northwestern Wisconsin. I do believe James Anderson (Famous Dave’s son) was named to this list, roughly a decade ago.
DrydenWire: The Native News Online article stated that the award winners were recognized for “the hard-work, dedication, and perseverance of our best and brightest,” but didn’t state more about each recipient. Could you expand on that in terms of why specifically they gave you this prestigious recognition?
Curtis: I’m a firm believer there were numerous factors involved. The biggest contributing factor was likely the founding and formation of the Tribal Business League. The Tribal Business League is a tribally-led, non-profit, buying club made up of 7 tribes and $40M in annual C-store purchases. Other works included my work through Superior Marketing. I have clients in all 50 US states, and 4 foreign countries, and my primary goal are to help small businesses compete online and offline with big-box retailers, carving out larger localized market shares.
DrydenWire: Outstanding. You strike me as a true entrepreneur. What other businesses or ventures are you part of?
Curtis: In short, I created a number of pet projects basically because it was something that was missing in the local marketplace. Summer of 2019, my kids and I must have gone through 4 different lawn care companies. The schedule inconsistency and service issues made up my want to start a lawn care company. So, we did. We created Three Bears Lawn Care. My daughter (12), son (11), and I are ⅓ shareholders, and quickly went from 0 accounts to full time 40-50 hours a week in just 21 days. We earned accolades from HomeAdvisor and ended up the highest rated lawn care company in Hayward Wisconsin.
DrydenWire: I’ve heard that you even have your own coffee? Is that true?
Curtis: Yes! Similar story. In 2018, I thought it would be cool to have my own coffee (I love coffee, good coffee). So, I started my own coffee company by private labeling premium coffee. Boozhoo Coffee Company was born, now I sell and distribute 300+ lbs of small-batch premium coffee all over the United States, and hold numerous retail/grocery accounts in northern Wisconsin.
DrydenWire: What!! How cool is that? Your own coffee! Dare I ask, what else have you started?
Curtis: In 2018, my kids and I thought it would be fun to start a fireworks company. We did just that. Now, every summer we open up our shop, Big Bang Fireworks, on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation, and sell thousands of units of fireworks in just 10-14 days of operation.
DrydenWire: Okay, so I feel like I should just keep asking you the same question over-and-over until you run out of businesses. So… what else?
Curtis: This last summer, my daughter and I had a difficult time finding an AAU basketball program that was closer to home and had enough players recruited to fill a roster. We had no luck, so I created Rising Stars Basketball, a team that participates in AAU tournaments all over Wisconsin and Minnesota. In short, if I see a need in the marketplace, I find a way to fill it and monetize it. It’s just that much sweeter if I can get my kids involved in entrepreneurial endeavors.
DrydenWire: That’s incredible. Aside from your entrepreneurial spirit, your family, and your ideas, what has helped you be successful in these businesses?
Curtis: That would be my primary business, Superior Marketing. I provide digital marketing services for hundreds of businesses all over the US and in 4 foreign countries. That skill alone has helped me catapult the other ventures so quickly.
DrydenWire: Curtis, thanks for taking some time to chat w/ us. Congratulations on winning this prestigious award and we wish you all the best in your multiple-businesses. I just have one more question for you: when are we going to see a DrydenWire coffee blend from Boozhoo Coffee Company?
Curtis: I would love to create a DrydenWire Blend and will definitely start development whenever you're ready! That would be a great addition for the readers. I love the question!
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