Donuts are a competitive business in my town. One that has become a David vs. Goliath type of success story.
For years, the big chain we all know so well was the only place in town for glazed, frosted, or jelly donuts. Always busy with three locations within a five-mile radius, you’d think that’s all a local market could bear for fresh breakfast goodness, if slightly caloric.
Until a small donut business opened its doors down the street a few months ago.
Off the beaten track, but with plenty of roadside signage, the new shop initially provided a lot of buzz around town – as customers talked about its upcoming grand opening.
And what a grand opening it was – with plenty of fanfare, banners, free donuts, music, and outdoor seating. After a few weeks, the business began running different specials, such as “Buy 12 and get one free.” An article ran in the local paper, too.
Even after the initial novelty wore off, the smaller shop’s parking lot is still full and the buzz is still there. The shop’s attention to detail is admirable, from its actual product (larger-sized donuts and unique flavors, including bacon toppings!) to its stand-out packaging (a simple, oversized brown box tied with baker’s twine and colorful sticker on top).
While the bigger donut business has the advantage of national advertisements and plenty of regulars who know they can pop in for a cup of joe and their regular breakfast order, the independent donut shop has definitely found its niche. Word on the street is that the overall freshness, products served warm, and the made-to-order aspects keep customers coming back.
Remember, the little details at your small business. That could be one reason that keeps this business popular. Or maybe it’s the ongoing marketing efforts. At least once a month, I receive a mailer from this donut shop in the form of an oversized postcard promoting its endless combinations and dedication to freshness, with bright graphics and a coupon. I also see them in the local papers in ads and articles. Recently, they brought donuts to a local hockey rink where the high school team was in the playoffs. For that small effort, they got their picture in the paper.
It’s not just about donuts. This is about the mom-and-pop small business vs. the big chain. It’s about being creative, bringing your business to your audience, and making that effort — every day.
And, if you’re lucky, your sweetness pays off.
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