Sunday, September 20, 2009

Striving For Excellence Even If Your The Only Show In Town

Corey and I took a work trip of sorts this weekend. I say of sorts because we didn't leave for long and we didn't pursue new accounts really hard either. We left San Diego for a small town in Santa Barbara County named Solvang. The town was putting on a festival called Danish Days in celebration of their heritage. We went for a chance to get away and to try the famous Æbleskivers. The town proved to be charming, making me fall in love with the idea of living in a small town.

We surveyed the local establishments looking for potential customers knowing there were many bakeries also professing to be coffee shops. I think they used the term coffee shop loosely. Come to find out there were many bakery/coffee shops but their idea of coffee was more like what you find in a local diner. With coffee being such an afterthought we were surprised they even bothered to feature it in their store front signage and magazine advertising. We did find two shops that were more about the coffee and less about the pastries. We left a sample bag and business card with each one. We were able to speak with the owner of one of them and he was pleasant and open to building his business. What impressed me is he took advantage of the festival staying open later than the other shops in the area. He was the only serious coffee shop in the vicinity but he acted as if he was in direct competition with the guy next door.

This is the kind of customer we want and a customer we strive to help grow. Someone who is concerned with always upholding the highest standards and customer service even if no one else is offering anything close. A standard of excellence in your coffee house will not only draw the out of town tourists but build a loyal local customer base who will also recommend you to new tourists or customers. This builds the circle, entices new business while holding strong on the repeat business. Isn't this how we all want to build our brands in the effort of excellence.

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