Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Gang of Three… Quibble, Quandary, Quest

I'm not usually a good scrabble player, however using big point words seemed a fitting way to wrap up some experiences of the past few weeks. 

Quibble: The Boundaries of Local
Recently, I’ve been traveling outside of our “region” (ok state) in hopes to grow our sales and distribution of tarts. In Oregon/Portland and somewhat in Washington/Seattle, (depending on who you talk to), our products are considered local. But if you fly 1000 (or more) miles, somewhere mid-air, we cross the boundaries of “local” and are seen as “sustainable” (and “clean”) products*. Neither are specific or constraining, it’s simply a different mindset when pitching our tarts to buyers. Overall, the response to our tarts has been positive and everyone is supportive of using local resources to produce them.

Quandary: The Economy and Continuing Closing of Businesses
In the past four weeks, two of my small business friends in town have closed up shop (literally). Both were retail food businesses (in two different sectors). One just had enough (a future longer post about this is pending) of the long hours and no income. The other had been trying to wait out their lease and hang on with no luck. Yes, these things happen and most of the times work out for the best in the end, but they still can be unnerving for other small business owners like myself as no business is immune. However, I think there is always something to be learned from these situations, and they both walked away with insight and experience that could be useful in their next thing.

Quest: The Fruit Tart Flavor Which Reigns Supreme
It’s been about 8 weeks since we’ve launched our line of fruit tarts. As we started out with three flavors, strawberry, cherry and ginger peach, they’ve all been selling strongly (based on how many cases have been ordered). The cherry one has been slightly more popular, but not by much, maybe 5% in the past weeks. I’m enjoying the fact they’re all neck and neck so to speak, I think we’ve hit a good range launching with something for everyone.

* As an interesting note, Whole Foods Markets defines local as anything within a 7 hour truck/driving range. 

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