Pink Fire Pointer March 2012

Good idea: Local Businesses Band Together to Create Opportunities

  In spite of the economy showing signs of recovery, the local business industry needs more support now than ever. Our country did not begin on the backs of British corporations but on the backs of the immigrants who relocated and built businesses in America. While things are beginning to look up, remember to try to purchase as much as you can from local store owners, farms, and kitchens. 
  Here is something that I love to see, local businesses banding together to support each other! Based on the Salem 'Til Nine events from this past holiday, some things have been changed, but the idea remains the same. Numerous local businesses have signed up to be a part of this event. They are offering special promotions for customers on Saturday, March 24th from 11 AM until 2 PM. Keep checking this link for an update on businesses participating in this event! 

CUPS: Why this business works as a model.

If you have never been to CUPS on Grandin Avenue in Roanoke, it is a must! CUPS Coffee and Tea has been open for a little over a year and a half and they are planning to expand already! So what has made this local coffee house such a success?

  • Bring your own cup and you can leave it there! They have a large 5 shelf system that is dedicated to return customers. You bring a cup from home and leave it! Why it works: Guarantees return of consumer. It's gimmicky fun. It saves the business money in supplies and is environmentally friendly. They also have a bike rack made by a local artist.
  • The owner's personality is all over the place. Michelle Bennett worked for Mill Mountain Theatre for many years before she decided to open a shop. She is a collector of bobbleheads and Hello Kitty items. She is a transplant from Pennsylvania and an unfortunate Steelers fan. Michelle makes her own line of t-shirts that can make you laugh or blush. She is brisk, sarcastic, and funny!
  • Rule of thumb for coffee shops: Do not walk in, settle in, and not buy anything. It's not Barnes and Noble. Don't treat it as such.
  • Events: There is a CUPS quiz night every Tuesday night and it is frequented towards the weekend at night by acoustical artists.
  • Michelle used Facebook to drive her business in it's early days. 
  • Community involvement: For every bag of their locally brewed home blend coffee, they donate $1 from the sale to a local charity every month. A new charity is picked every month. They also offer goodies from Rockfish (soup), Roanoke Co-op, Viva La Cupcake, and other local kitchens. 
  • Every employee is friendly and courteous. If you're feeling down, you won't be for long!
Given this set of strategies, what can we take from CUPS?

  • Convenience: They have done everything in their power to make customers feel at home or at their office.
  • Customer Service: That is always a given in a successful business! 
  • Community: CUPS is tied to the community and we are tied to CUPS. They help fund special events, give to local charities, use local kitchens, etc. You have to take your community into account for your business strategy!