We are proud to announce our NEW community destination. Engage with resident experts and fellow entrepreneurs, and learn everything you need to start your business. Check out the new home of StartupNation Community at startupnation.mn.co

Boomer in new biz-Is it worth it?

mamamoosemamamoose subscriber Posts: 1
edited November 2007 in Boomers Back in Business
My husband and I opened an ice cream/espressso/gift shop in a new building in a growing rural area.  After 8 months, sales are down, laying off staff and wondering if we are going to make it.  Had a similar biz 5 yrs ago that did ok. Sold it to be home with busy teen.  That store was in a seasonal tourist town.  The draw for this area is consistent business with other local companies and large neighborhoods nearby. 
Customer comments are very positive.  Still meet new customers daily.  Is this normal?  Our previous store was turnkey, long history in that location.


  • LtresselLtressel subscriber Posts: 3
    Hi Mamamoose,Sorry to hear that business slowed down.  There can be various reasons why your sales slowed down.  Maybe you can evaluate some areas like:1) Marketing-have you done any specials to build customer loyalty?  I go to a specialty tea cafe where they give me a card that gets stamped for every cup I get. 12th or 10th cup is free. That`s just an idea right off my head. Perhaps you can formulate better ones. Free coffee Tuesdays or something. 2) Customer Service-not that I am saying that yours is no good-but can it be better? Just a simple evaluation from time to time will keep you on top of your game.3) Quality/Diversity- again, not saying that your coffee isn`t good (never had it so I can`t judge).  Diversity would be supplying every kind of taste buds. Maybe introducing a blend of the month/brew of the day.4) Demographics- evaluating your demographics might also be key to changing the pace of your business.  As you have said, this is a growing rural area.  Check with the economic development agency in your town ( every town has one) and they can provide you with these reports.The reports can be a great tool for your marketing analysis and implementation plan.  Running a business can sometimes be a statistical science rather than accepting that slowing business is just a normal phenomenon.  There`s always a  credible reason why.  I hope this has help you some.  I wish you good luck and hope that things turn around.Regards,LT
  • mamamoosemamamoose subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for the input.  We do have some of your ideas in place.  We are trying to figure out a way to track our customers.  Maybe have a short survey to fill out and get a free coffee.  We are advertising in the local 12-plex theater.  Running a video ad in between movies.  Seems to be bringing people in to check us out.  We do believe we have better customer service than the local ice cream chains and very good locally roasted coffee.  We have trimmed back the "deadwood" in our work force to see if having the owners here all the time makes a better impression.
  • mamamoosemamamoose subscriber Posts: 1
    Very good point.  Housing is a bit slower here.  Belt-tightening might be a factor.  Thanks.
  • YoliYoli subscriber Posts: 0
    I have been in the restaurant industry now for almost 35 years.  And now, the restaurant industry is not starting out quickly as it did years ago.  It now takes as long as one year to establish a steady stream of consumers.  Be patience it take time.  And to a lot of marketing.
  • mamamoosemamamoose subscriber Posts: 1
    Marketing is hard to pin down.  For restaurants, do coupons work better than other forms of advertising?  That is what we have had the best response from.  Currently, we have a 15 sec ad running at the local 12-screen movie theater.  They run between the movies.  I am thinking of offering a freebie when they mention the ad. 
  • DBeaversDBeavers subscriber Posts: 0
    One option that many food outlets use is the custom-printed stadium cup or travel mug.  Order a quantity with you name, logo, phone-in order number and address.  Offer free refills of soda, coffee, or tea with any sandwich or meal purchase.  You can even put a terminal date on to limit the refills to one year or now through December 2009, etc.
    Another option is with the travel mugs, offer 99 cent coffee or $1.79 (or other price discounted from your regular price) when they bring in your mug for refills.  Set the price high enough to make a profit, knowing you won`t be providing them a styrofoam or insulated paper cup.  The every day discount will have the same appeal as a coupon (instant savings), but without the distribution cost of repeat newspaper ads or mailings.
    You might also offer a punch card, where the holder gets one punch with every $3 or $5 purchase.  Once the card is filled, they get a free travel mug, cap, or tote bag.  Any item you give should have your name, logo, and additional info to invite additional customers.
    Just a couple ideas that might help build repeat traffic.  It can cost you 5 to 9 times as much money to bring in a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. 
    Good luck with growing your business.
Sign In or Register to comment.