With Small Business Saturday happening soon, I thought it would be nice to share some of great experiences I've had with small businesses over the past few years. It's been an amazing journey owning a small business and it's really opened my eyes to their strengths especially when it comes to treating people with respect and going the extra mile.
Before we opened the store, there were 2 solid months of finding local people who had products to offer. I went to farmers markets and craft shows as well as asking other businesses for suggestions. One day I walked into the coffee shop next door to our first location and the owner gave me a card for a local coffee roaster. I assumed it was the person who roasted their coffee so that would be a good referral because they had been working together. Not the case. It was a new roaster who had talked to Vikki and she passed his name along to me. Now, midway into our first conversation, I had to decide whether I wanted to work with now an unknown company. I'm so glad we did!
Hunter Brothers Coffee gives us the best customer service! And that doesn't mean I feel like we're "valued customers" but they really make us feel like we're important, perhaps actual humans to be respected. They come around and offer samples for festivals and other special events we create, we've been able to brainstorm and work together on things, and it's turned into a great relationship. In fact, they are at the store so often that our customers recognize them as the coffee guys!
One of my favorite stories with Hunter Brothers is that one Friday or Saturday, I emailed over an order. (That was so back in the day. Now I text them Friday and it gets delivered Saturday morning!) The order wasn't huge. There was no rush. Just a regular order. 15 MINUTES LATER Tim walks in the door. I just stood there and stared at him. Why would the order would be filled in 15 minutes?
#1 Hunter Brothers has a very odd customer service process by which they sit in the parking lot waiting for orders to come in so they can provide the best service...
#2 Tim has placed cameras in my store and knew when the order was being placed...
#3 He has ESP and knew what we needed before I did...
Of course none of those were true. Tim was packing up another order, saw mine come through, and got it together while he was on the way out. Much less creepy and not at all as entertaining. But it does give us the story to tell people that we get product very quickly from Hunter Brothers. Sometimes in less than 15 minutes.
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