"I was disappointed but persisted until I reached U.S. Range," he continues. "It was extremely interested, and I quickly cut a production deal. I later learned the reason the company was so eager: It was financially troubled. But we were both willing to gamble."
From that early dice roll, Carl has created an enduring brand. Viking has opened an 87,000-square-foot manufacturing plant and a separate distribution center to handle its expansion into premium appliances, cookware and cutlery. Carl went on to found 16 Viking Cooking Schools, and opened the Alluvian Hotel and Spa in one of 23 historic buildings he purchased and renovated in downtown Greenwood.
"The line between stubbornness and perseverance is thin," he says.
His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: "If you're emotionally and professionally convinced that your idea is sound, then be very stubborn. And don't be afraid to tell Khrushchev to take a hike."