How A Near Death Experience Changed An Outlook On Life

Learn how Jeremy Kaschinske had an unexpected path to a second chance at life

If you see a guy in a logoed polo, picking up and dropping off white or blue buckets at your neighbor’s door, don’t be alarmed. Twice a month you’ll find Jeremy Kaschinske, owner of Minnesota Salt Co.  serving his Waconia clients with something pretty unexpected. Water Softener Salt. Also unexpected was when a genetic illness, combined with a unique set of genes topped with stress, caused his liver and kidneys to fail, which resulted in a liver transplant in 2021. Life’s uncertainty at that time made Jeremy reevaluate his entire life.

“I practiced law for 10 years. I won all the awards, had the nice office, the fancy suits, but I was miserable”, Jeremy admits. “The least I could do for all the people who went through this with me was to make some significant changes.” This is how Minnesota Salt Co was born. Jeremy decided to go back to his roots, as he grew up with a Mom and Dad who were small business owners in the Wisconsin town of Poynette. His goal was to help people, help the earth, provide a service and stay active. “My wife’s Grandma Jean would have to take 20 trips up and down her stairs with an ice cream bucket of salt. I thought, there has to be a better way.”

Inspired by small businesses like Junk King, who started with a truck and themselves, he knew he needed to get creative. Here’s how it works. You sign up for a plan that suits your needs. You’re then assigned a “salt day”. When your salt day is approaching, you’ll receive a text reminder to leave your empty bucket at your door. He’ll then replace your empty bucket with a fresh, filled one. Jeremy asked around. He wanted to know, if you could spend the same amount but have the salt dropped at your door, would you do it? “Everyone replied with, why wouldn’t I do it?” The company also provides full service fills where they will fill the tank for you. “I still love interacting with people, that may be the only thing I missed about being a lawyer.”

Jeremy wanted his service to be convenient for the Grandma Jeans of the world. He also wanted to make sure it was friendly for the environment. “We’ve done the math and figure we’ve saved almost 10,000 bags in the 7 months we’ve been doing this.” He also wanted it to be affordable and consistent, saying with a laugh that he always hated when his wife told him they needed salt on his way to Home Depot for something else. The last thing he wanted to do was haul a big, floppy, annoying bag in his cart and then leave it in his trunk for 3 months.

Minnesota Salt Co currently serves 1000 homes and small businesses and delivers about 50,000 pounds of salt a month. One notable highlight was when the Arboretum called. “We knew we were onto something when the Arboretum asked us to provide all of their salt. They’re all about sustainability!” Recently he also added Kruckman Family Dentistry to his list of customers who, he says, has been so supportive and motivational. “This community is the best. Especially when something is new and fresh, people want to see people do well, if they put in the work.” He says he witnessed this growing up with his parents’ small businesses as well. “I remember how awesome people were.”

Since starting Minnesota Salt Co, he’s been able to spend more quality time with his wife and daughter and realizes with even more certitude that he’s “got life to live.” He remembers very little about his transplant day, but does remember the whup-whup-whup of the helicopter coming with his new liver and his wife telling him to hang on. He later learned that while the helicopter was landing with his new liver, the hospital was holding an Honor Walk for the donor and their family. An Honor Walk is held as the donor is transferred to the operating room. “I wish everyone could take a little pill to go in the mindset of knowing you only have 45 minutes to live.” Turns out Jeremy’s donor’s family lived 8 miles away from him and still lives close. He’s in touch with them often and admits that he owes them everything. Jeremy is undeniably taking advantage of his second chance at life. “I went from courtroom to delivering salt, and I love it!”

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