Businessman bites into online baking delivery services
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For 44-year-old Alan Zelcovitch, his life and career has taken some strange turns indeed. The sharpest turn came 10 years ago, when a hurtling volleyball hit him hard on the head. The seemingly minor accident sent his world spinning — literally.
“That night I woke up and the entire room was spinning for six years,” he says. The impact had given him “severe benign positional vertigo,” an incapacitating disorder where his head would spin violently at “200 rotations per minute” whenever he’d so much as sneeze.
Zelcovitch’s accident also sent his career into a tailspin and he was forced to quit his successful catering business, Cocktails and Dreams. His career was the last thing on his whirling dervish of a mind, however. “I had worse things to deal with,” he says.
Luckily, Zelcovitch is steady on his feet again (miraculously, a car accident three years ago cured his vertigo). And what’s more, he’s also now back in business, as the owner of Computers Solutions Networks, a technical support company, and Zelcovia Cookies, an online cookie delivery business. “I’ve always wanted to be a businessman,” he says. “Always.”
And the fact that he’s wound up in these particular businesses can be partially attributed to his accident. After somewhat improving from his injury, Zelcovitch still needed a job where he could sit all day so he took a computer course and started Computers Solutions Networks. “Completely unrelated to cookies, yes,” he says. “But here’s where the relation starts.”
A client wanted to know if Google could help him connect with potential clients. Zelcovitch created a simple web page with a picture of a cookie and his client’s phone number; if people called with cookie orders, it’d show that Google enabled people to connect with services they were seeking. “He called me the next day and said, ‘Turn it off! I got four or five orders,’” recalls Zelcovitch.
Zelcovitch’s business sense tingled and he realized there was an online demand for cookie delivery services.
Luckily, he already had the baking chops — as a caterer, his cookies were his most popular item.
“I know how to make a fantastic cookie,” he says. “As long as you’re good at something, it’s a sellable item.”
Today, Zelcovia Cookies is five years old and going strong, with over 100 per cent growth from just last year. They ship across Canada and make everything from cookie bouquets to “photo cookies” with photographs in edible ink.
He plans to eventually sell Zelcovia but for now, he’s just counting his lucky stars. He says his injury has given him not just a new career path, but also a fresher outlook.
“I have a perspective now I never did before,” he says. “Things that normally scared me, like business challenges, don’t anymore.”