George Chase, Jr. is not your average student. While the average student may struggle with working part-time, Chase is a full-time business owner and founder of Chop It Salad Company.
Chop It is a fast-food restaurant–without all of the carbs, fat and sugars, specializing in make-it-your-own salads. With over 50 salad toppings and over 30 salad dressings, each salad is made to the customer’s own preference.
The idea for Chop It was first conceived in 2009 by Chase’s wife, Bridget, and the first store opened in 2010 in the food court at the Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted with former partner Joe Joltin. Now with six stores throughout malls in the Cleveland area, Chase is beginning to look at expanding his company to locations outside of malls, and outside of Cleveland.
When Chase was last at John Carroll in 2005, things were different. Dolan Center for Science and Technology was newly built, there were more computer labs on campus and Chase describes himself as being prideful about his college courses.
“I didn’t take school seriously,” Chase said. While Chase spent two and half years as an Resident Assistant on campus and was involved in the radio station as a part of his major in communications, he admits that he connected a lot with the classic Mark Twain quote: “Don’t let schooling interfere with your education,” and felt like some classes were getting in his way.
But now that Chase has become his own boss and has created a company with over 60 employees, he believes that furthering his education is one of the best ways to grow as a leader for Chop It. He admits that his pride in his youth had blinded him.
With a family background in entrepreneurship, Chase knew from an early age that he wanted to be his own boss, recognizing that he had control over himself and his environment, and has looked to his parents as inspiration and for advice.
The Carroll News had the opportunity to sit down with Chase and get advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and students who sometimes struggle with taking college seriously.
Tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:
1) “Don’t be afraid to fail,” says Chase, “Or sound like an idiot.”
2) You’re not always going to know the best way, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
3) “Study improv,” Chase says, before elaborating further that comedians don’t use the word “no” in a skit, they say, “yes, and…”
4) Don’t be afraid of leaving people behind who don’t get you forward.
5) “Let it in. Even courses you won’t use, there is still a lot to learn—don’t be proud, arrogant,” says Chase, referring to his college career.
One of the most important things to Chase, though, was the emphasis on self-improvement every day, even the most minor way. “For every minute you’re not getting better, someone else is,” said Chase.