A Unique Approach and a Lesson In Commitment

By Dave Kempf

A good friend to The Junior League of Tampa, Dave Kempf is also the President of FRP Books, an essential partner in the publication of our cookbooks. He was kind enough to write about the creation of our Culinary Collection in his own blog, and we are happy to share his words with our readers.

This post is going to take place in multiple parts because it is so unique and so personal I don’t want to leave anything out of the story.  Over the last decade I have been privileged to meet and work with some of the “BEST” and most dedicated volunteers in the US.  Along the way I have developed friendships with many of the individuals that will last long after I retire.

In 2001, I noticed that two members from The Junior League of Tampa were attending FRP’s Cookbook University, an annual seminar for those who want to learn more about developing and marketing cookbooks.  I was excited to know that they were thinking about producing a new book.  Little did I realize, the power of long-term relationships, and how important these two ladies, Danielle Welsh and Kristie Salzer would be in both the life of their books, but in my life as well.

We took a short drive from the seminar to my office and they presented me with the challenge of coming up with something that hadn’t been done before in the world of community cookbooks.  The idea I shared with them was a simple one which I had presented unsuccessfully to another prospect: Create a series of smaller books each with its own theme, but with a consistent look and design.

Both Danielle and Kristie loved it and proceeded to “make it happen”. They, along with other leadership within JL Tampa were the creators of The Junior League of Tampa Culinary Collection, a four volume set of cookbooks.  The first three titles have collectively sold approximately 60,000 copies thus far with the fourth and final book coming out in September.

What started out as a rough idea has turned into over $300,000 in profits to better the community of Tampa, FL.

One lesson to be learned from watching this group in action is how important commitment is to a plan.  I can assure you that obstacles presented themselves to this League over the last decade that could have caused others less committed to a plan to throw in the towel and say, “we’ve done enough.” Little events like hurricanes ripping through the state—not once, but several times, is just one example. Or, how about Danielle finalizing the manuscript before sending it off for printing while going into labor? Yes, these ladies were committed.

In the next installment I will share with you some details on each book plus more information about how the League and the community have benefited from this pioneer effort of grit and determination.


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