Cellar & Store Food for the Long Haul With These 6 Easy Strategies

Saving food is an economic and environmental imperative: the less we waste, the more efficient the food system on which we all rely becomes.

And it’s important to remember that though we take that food system for granted today, it might not operate as we expect in the future. Even in the developed world, natural and manmade events can interrupt the flow of goods — including perishable and non-perishable foodstuffs — for days or weeks on end. Self-sufficient consumers need to be prepared for any eventuality, even those that don’t appear especially likely at the moment.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at five best practices that you can follow today to secure your food supply and store nutritious, life-sustaining sustenance for the long haul. Continue reading

Looking for an Ecommerce Solution?

Looking for an Ecommerce Solution? Here’s Your Capability Checklist

This decade has not been good to traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. Even the most bullish analysts agree that the industry is facing a make-or-break moment — that, at a minimum, a period of painful right-sizing lies ahead.

Others are more blunt, painting recent mass store closings and chain bankruptcies as harbingers of a full-blown collapse. Some call it a “retail apocalypse” — the death knell for the old way of buying and selling things. Business Insider argues, contra “smart money” insiders, that right-sizing is actually counterproductive: by the time you admit that you need to close stores en masse, it’s already too late.

Getting to Digital-First Retail

Just about every major retailer sells its products online at this point, as do tens of thousands of independent, single-shop vendors around the United States. Going forward, the retail landscape looks to be a digital-first affair: merchants might have a handful of flagship stores in high-traffic districts, but the bulk of the action will be online.

If your company is just starting out, or you’re flexible enough to make the switch from brick-and-mortar-first to digital-first retail, you’ll need an ecommerce platform capable of supporting the bulk of your company’s revenue generation — with all the variety and complexity that entails. That’s likely to tee up one of the most important decisions you make as a leader.

“If your company earns substantial revenue from online sales, its choice of e-commerce solution is incredibly consequential,” says William Michael Keever, CEO of Nashville-based Castle Venture Group, an investor in several high-growth digital startups. “You need a solution that offers the right mix of operational functionality and flexibility at a reasonable cost — one that can grow with your company over time.”

Continue reading

More About William Michael Keever


William Michael Keever is CEO of Castle Venture Group, a Nashville-based private equity firm with a diverse portfolio of local and national enterprises. Throughout his career, Keever has had turns as an investor, entrepreneur, and attorney.

William Michael Keever — Early Career

Mr. Keever graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in public administration.

Early in his career, he held a series of positions of increasing responsibility at various Dallas-area community banks, including multiple vice president of branch operations roles. At those institutions, Keever’s primary responsibilities included coordinating financial reporting between individual bank branches, the Federal Reserve, and his employers’ corporate offices.

He was also responsible for analyzing lending transactions to position his employers for growth while minimizing risk. William Keever credits those early years as crucial to the management and investing approach to which he hews today.

Faith and Community

While working in North Texas’s finance industry, William Michael Keever entered the graduate divinity program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He concluded his studies several years later, earning a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from the institution.

A devout Christian since childhood, Mr. Keever used his MDiv degree to improve his adopted community, with a particular focus on counseling troubled teens and young adults with depression and substance abuse issues. He remains active in Nashville’s faith community and continues to support initiatives to minister to at-risk youth.

William Michael Keever — Legal Expertise

After earning his Master of Divinity, William Michael Keever left North Texas and temporarily left the finance industry. Returning to Birmingham, he enrolled at Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, where he spent the subsequent years studying the law and clerking at some of Alabama’s top law firms. Particularly consequential were Mr. Keever’s stints at the law firms of Berkowitz & Lefkovitz (now Baker Donelson) and Sirote & Permutt.

Though he has talked at length about his first-rate legal education and continues to remain active in Cumberland School of Law’s alumni community, he credits these internships with preparing him for the modern practice of law in a complex and ever-changing world. William Keever graduated magna cum laude, earned his J.D., and secured admission to the State Bar of Alabama.

Following graduation, Mr. Keever accepted an offer of employment at Sirote & Permutt’s corporate, tax, and securities departments. There, Mr. Keever put his prior finance industry experience to work for the firm’s clients. He remained at Sirote & Permutt for two years before founding his own law firm, Keever & Jauregui.

During his tenure as managing partner, he focused on various aspects of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and estate planning. He was lead or co-counsel in several key buy, sell, and turnaround business transactions.

After leaving Keever & Jauregui, William Michael Keever served as in-house counsel for Avalon-Borden Companies, Inc, and later as CEO of subsidiary Avalon Media Group, Inc. — his first C-level position.

At Avalon, Mr. Keever discovered a previously unknown passion for growing and developing companies in an executive capacity. During his tenure as CEO of Avalon Media Group, Inc., Mr. Keever oversaw 300%, grew the subsidiary’s workforce, and helped the firm expand into a number of new markets.

After leaving Avalon, Mr. Keever relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, where he worked as managing partner of Keever & Picado, a boutique corporate law firm that served clients throughout Middle Tennessee.

Creation of Castle Venture Group

Three years after returning to Nashville, William Michael Keever began his first stint as CEO and managing director of Castle Venture Group. Mr. Keever’s responsibilities included identifying, negotiating, and closing buyouts, acquisitions, reorganizations, investment syndications, and divestitures. He credits his experience at Avalon Media Group with preparing him for this complex set of duties and setting the stage for the next phase of his career.

Two years after taking the reins at Castle Venture Group, Mr. Keever temporarily relinquished his position to serve in a dual role as CEO and President of Mint Media Group, a marketing and advertising firm. As the leader of Mint Media Group, Mr. Keever oversaw the company’s sales, operations, marketing, and production teams.

Confident that his successors could handle the day-to-day leadership responsibilities, Mr. Keever returned to Castle Venture Group as CEO. The company’s portfolio has grown and changed in recent years, but its most noteworthy current ventures include:

  •     Worthington Galleries, a noted retail fine arts gallery (the largest in the South)
  •     GodCloud, a nonprofit social enterprise supporting a robust online Christian community
  •     Advisant Group, a multinational marketing and software development firm with offices in Nashville, Russia, and India
  •     ExxoGear, a guns and ammo distributor with a robust online community and content portal for survivalists
  •     Urban Loud, a real-time, crowdsourced news platform
  •     Kryptobit, a mobile application that reduces costs and friction associated with Bitcoin transactions
  •     Instant Merchant Group, a high-risk merchant services provider

William Michael Keever — Patron of the Arts

When William Keever isn’t overseeing Castle Venture Group’s investments, he’s supporting the arts community throughout Middle Tennessee.

Mr. Keever has an extensive private art collection that serves as the basis for Worthington Galleries’ collection, which includes oil paintings, watercolors, sculptures, and everyday objets d’art. The gallery recently opened a satellite location in the historic Nashville Arcade and is one of the principal supporters of the popular First Saturday Art Crawl, a monthly event that draws thousands of art enthusiasts to downtown Nashville. The gallery’s main location is located in Gallatin, Tennessee.

Mr. Keever was and is involved with a number of charities, nonprofits, and social enterprises that don’t directly support the arts.

Global Charitable Contributions

As chairman and executive director of CIDA, Mr. Keever oversaw the construction of two healthcare clinics in Kenya. Both continue to serve desperately poor villagers and displaced persons. Under Mr. Keever’s guidance, Costa Rica-based Mission for the Children built a vocational school for orphaned children after sustained negotiations with the Costa Rican government.

As director of T.E.A.M., a nonprofit public foundation that provides inner-city children with opportunities to develop their passion for sports and earn admission to colleges and universities that they’d otherwise be unable to afford, William Keever worked with current and retired professional athletes, Coca-Cola (and other major corporations), and various high-profile executives to raise the organization’s profile and grow its endowment.

Mr. Keever lives in the Nashville area with his family.