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When You Least Expect It

Be on the Lookout – for Something Good!

Karen and Jay highlight the importance of being open to opportunity and always on the lookout to take advantage of the moment – especially when you least expect it.

Here’s a phrase I suspect you may have heard from someone in conversation. ‘I didn’t see that coming.’  It’s a way to note the unexpected.  How many times in our day-to-day lives do we expect one thing – but suddenly find something else?  Perhaps a bit startled – it’s then up to us to react.  And, we have a choice to make.  Will we be disappointed and perhaps react negatively in some way – or will we see the changed circumstance – and begin with a firm belief that there must be some opportunity – albeit perhaps hidden – in this new circumstance.  Then, acting on this belief, we actually do seize the opportunity and achieve an unexpected success.


Well, we’re not alone.  There are powerful examples of people who have done just that – achieved success – seemly in very unexpected circumstances.  One of my favorite examples is Steve Jobs' unveiling of the iPhone in 2007. Apple, primarily known for computers and iPods at the time, saw the potential in converging various technologies into a single device. The late Jobs was prepared to take advantage of this opportunity when it arose, revolutionizing the smartphone industry and reshaping the way we communicate, work, and live. His foresight and preparation allowed Apple to capitalize on an unforeseen market gap, making the iPhone a global phenomenon.

Perhaps even more unexpected – how about J.K. Rowling's journey to success with the Harry Potter series? Rowling, a struggling single mother at the time, had the idea for the wizarding world during a train delay. While she faced numerous rejections, Rowling persisted in her writing, and when the opportunity to publish finally arrived, she was ready. The meticulous preparation of building an entire magical universe in her mind allowed her to create a literary phenomenon that captivated readers worldwide, changing the landscape of children's literature forever.

And here’s one that was not obvious, in the least, at the time - Elon Musk and his success with Tesla. Musk, known for his ventures in technology and space exploration – in simple terms, ‘Musk was not a car guy!’  Yet given his work in parallel sectors, he came upon an unexpected opportunity - seeing the potential for electric cars and renewable energy. His visionary approach and relentless preparation allowed Tesla to capitalize on a niche market, challenging the traditional automotive industry. Today, Tesla stands as a leader in electric vehicles, illustrating the value of being prepared to seize unexpected opportunities and drive innovation in industries thought to be unchangeable.

So, the next time, you find yourself in a situation – and the unexpected circumstance presents itself – why not muster up the positive energy to find the successful path forward – and join the ranks of Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, and Elon Musk – and know that you are definitely in the best of company.

When You Least Expect It….


Come with me, and you'll be in a world of far more than pure imagination. Ed Wachenfeld is a self-proclaimed Willy Wonka of the freeze-dried world. Formerly a paramedic, he started a candy business with his wife, Ruth, in 2010. She had a background as a waitress and a restaurant manager, and together they began by participating in craft fairs while maintaining their full-time careers. It should also be mentioned that Ruth's family had a successful history in the chocolate business in Manchester for many years.


Several years later, their interest turned to freeze-drying dog treats for their dachshunds. After their sons showed them TikTok videos of people freeze-drying candy, they saw it as the next logical step for their business. In 2017, inspired by a family in Iowa who threw Skittles into a dehydrator, Ed and Ruth brought the concept to the East Coast, starting with just a handful of products. Through trial and error, they expanded their product line while setting themselves apart with consistency, flavor, and quality.


In 2019, while Ed’s father was in hospice in Virginia, he went to visit for the last time. His father had devoted his life to being an educator, and in his retirement was a senior member of his local church. His last request to Ed was that he give faith a chance to work in his life – to put God first and believe he was meant to do more. Wanting to live up to his dad’s wishes, Ed did just that, and things started to happen. He grew as a person, a business owner, a father, and husband. The business began to grow as well to the point that the only logical thing to do was for him and Ruth to quit their jobs, take a leap of faith, and build a new career together. Soon, they found an overflowing of blessings as the orders kept coming in. They started making their own TikTok videos and the business really took off. Despite Ed's recent stroke, the business has continued to thrive, with more employees joining the team.  And incredibly they’ve even managed to incorporate the iconic Old Man of the Mountain image into their trademark, featuring the words "Live Freeze or Dry in the 603."

As of this week when writing this, it was announced that Granite State Freeze Dried Candy won nine Platinum awards and one Gold award, in addition to already being named ‘Best of NH 2023’ and ‘Best of 603 - Best Candy Store 2023.’ These recent awards from Manchester Community Votes are (all Platinum) Bulk foods, Candy, Chocolate Shop, Dessert, Gift Shops, Gourmet Food shop, Live entertainment (for commercials, social media and over 276 million views on TikTok), Specialty Foods and the gold is for Promotional Products. They have also been featured on WZID’s "Will you eat it Wednesday?”, WMUR TV’s “Home At Last”, and in NH Business Magazine.

The product is available in eight amusement parks from here to Pennsylvania. You can find their fruity marbles, sneaky snakes, and rainbow bears all the way from Maine to Florida and as far west as Texas. Altogether, they currently have 72 fun and yummy products. Also, they have added numerous new suppliers, including three new national and global distributors and just went live today on Amazon Prime in the US! By February 2024, their deliciousness will be available on Amazon in Mexico, Canada, and the UK. They are also currently available in the Common Man, Dickinson’s in Old Orchard Beach, and over 100 other locations in New England. Ed says that with all of the growth and new purchase orders rolling in, he’s even considering a partnership with the right investor. “Work hard, have faith, and if you want to change the world, there’s nothing to it!”  A brand-new website will be launching soon, but for now, please visit them at

Events That Have Forever Changed Our Lives!

Has something unexpected ever happened to you that changed your life in a totally unforeseen way?  Most of us have had at least one such experience.  For a fellow Sunshine colleague, it happened years ago when a company he was working for sent him to see the quality guru Dr. W. Edwards Deming. He didn’t know much about Dr. Deming but as he spoke about his System of Profound Knowledge it really resonated with him. Looking back, he can see why the connection was so strong, in particular because he’s always been a systems thinker and that’s exactly what Dr. Deming was talking about.  In this case it was an event that deeply impacted him and has helped shape the path in life he has taken. Sometimes though there are what could be described as cataclysmic events that impact all of us in very unexpected and significant ways.

Also, quite unexpected, the COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed a rapid shift to remote work, and one company that exemplified adaptability during these transformative times was Zoom Video Communications. According to Business of Apps, Zoom experienced an extraordinary surge in revenue, witnessing a staggering 326 percent growth in 2020, reaching a substantial $2.65 billion. As businesses worldwide scrambled to establish virtual connections, Zoom quickly positioned itself as the go-to platform for virtual meetings, with daily meeting participants soaring from 10 million in December 2019 to an impressive 300 million in April 2020.

This widespread adoption of remote work, as outlined by US News, saw a significant increase in the share of American employees working from home, rising from 24 percent in 2019 to a remarkable 42% in 2020. Zoom's seamless interface and robust features made it an indispensable tool for businesses navigating the challenges of virtual collaboration. This shift also paved the way for the burgeoning telehealth and telemedicine fields, as the need for remote communication extended beyond professional meetings.


Once again, Zoom saw an opportunity and took it - doing something that really benefited not just themselves but society at large! The increased reliance on virtual communication during the pandemic provided the foundation for the expansion of telehealth, allowing healthcare providers to connect with patients remotely. As individuals and professionals became accustomed to virtual interactions, the telehealth sector experienced unprecedented growth, providing accessible and convenient healthcare solutions. This has also been a blessing to those in rural communities who would often have to travel for hours to receive services. As the world still continues to struggle with the aftermath of Covid while now having to deal with current world situations, unfortunately mental health is now coming to the forefront.  Once again, a number of firms are finding opportunity and helping to address access to care and lack of staff issues. This is an area that the Sunshine Initiative is taking very seriously and is exploring ways to further help communities through collaboration with other organizations. 

Zoom is just one of the many businesses that during Covid saw an opportunity and acted on it – much to the benefit of society – especially by shaping the new normal of virtual collaboration and healthcare delivery. Here at the Sunshine Initiative, we’ve also experienced the benefits of this new virtual economy. While we still like to meet in person as an organization and with the communities that we serve, going virtual has certainly allowed us to expand our sphere of influence. Which is going to play out in a big way in 2024 as we look to expand to communities all across the US!

Positive Profile of the Week: Nick Vailas - Making the Most out of Every Situation! 

This week we are delighted to highlight a true entrepreneurial spirit – a leader in the community who is prepared to make the most of any situation – expected or totally unanticipated – Nick Vailas - a pure inspiration. His success in life and his commitment to helping those in need are traits that are truly admirable.

Nick is a Manchester native and it’s well known that Nick was a football star in high school.  Then Nick would go on to become a 4-year starter at Plymouth State College and achieved a degree in health education. He would tailor his knowledge of health and his commitment to on-field activities to launching a successful career and serving his community that would shape and define the person many of us know today. Nick has truly helped shape the sports medicine industry as well as having made a positive impact on society via sports, medicine and even the business of healthcare.


Nick Vailas is the founder of Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center , which has been providing top-notch medical treatment since 1993. Nick also established Apple Tree Physical Therapy. He dedicated so much time to creating services to ensure so many can live better and healthier lives. His experience, knowledge, and leadership in healthcare would lead him to public service where he served as Director of New Hampshire's Health and Human Resources. You’d think that would be enough for someone, but not Nick Vailas. He somehow would find time to give back, to create new opportunities for children, and establish a new path of doing even more good.


Nick, like so many parents, would coach, train, and mentor students of all ages. Seeing the need for access to sports medicine and knowing not everyone has the means to them, Nick would gather the best of the best and go on to create the Safe Sports Network, a group of medical professionals providing sports medicine care. Nick started the BASC East vs. West High School Football Game to benefit Dartmouth Health’s Children. This game not only showcases the best of the best in high school football but also creates programs both on and off the field to strengthen a player's commitment to giving back to their community. Today, this game is one of the most successful fundraisers for the hospital and continues to grow year after year.


Nick Vailas is a true leader, friend, and passionate community member. He has had an amazingly positive impact - first by seeing a need and whenever an unexpected opportunity might arise, he would find the energy and take the initiative to make good things happen! Thank you, Nick, for all the wonderful good that you have achieved!

Quotes of the Week:  When You Least Expect It 

"Fortune favors the prepared mind. Those who are ready to embrace change and capitalize on unforeseen opportunities are the ones who leave an indelible mark on the world." - Louis Pasteur


"In the business world, the people who are most prepared are the ones who can seize unexpected opportunities. Success often comes to those who are ready to pivot and adapt when the winds of change blow in their favor." - Jack Welch


"The future belongs to those who are prepared. When you are open-minded and flexible, you not only weather storms but also dance in the rain, turning unexpected challenges into golden opportunities." - Amit Ray


"Preparation is the key to success. It's not just about planning for the expected but being ready for the unexpected. Those who can find the silver lining in any cloud are the ones who emerge victorious in the end." - Tony Robbins


"The wise are always prepared for the unanticipated. They understand that life is a constant flow of opportunities, and by remaining open to possibilities, they navigate the unpredictable waters with grace and resilience." - Deepak Chopra


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