Author: Ryan Bell, BSU student
The Cape Cod Stuffed Quahog Company was founded in 2003 by Brian Robinson. Cape Cod Stuffed Quahogs cooks, prepares, and delivers a plethora of common seafood favorites throughout the South Shore including but not limited to: Stuffed quahogs (both premium and original flavor), Stuffed scallops with shrimp, Seafood risotto, lobster bisque, and clam chowder.
In 2003, Mr. Robinson was working for a restaurant in Boston, when he decided to start the business. In an interview with Brian, he mentioned that he originally broke ties with his previous place of employment in order to spend more time with his children. Shortly before the companies founding, Brian was spending most of his time at work, leaving at 5AM before anyone in his house woke up and returning lat at night when everyone had gone to bed. Though he was able to provide for his family he felt as if he was losing precious family time and decided to act. Shortly after, he rented an office/ production facility close to home and patented both the company name and recipes that are used to this day.
When asked what he may have done in hindsight, Brian stated that he wished he had more contingency plans set in place in order to mitigate any losses. He admits that there were more external forces causing the company issues than he initial anticipated. At the time of the company’s creation the biggest stress was caused by the financial fallout of the September 11th attacks. Though Brian understood the risks that were associated with the loss in tourism, he admits that he was caught off guard by the lasting effects. In addition, he noted there was a red tide the following year which severely damaged his supply chain. This caused him to look elsewhere for the majority of his ingredients. He was able to keep the company afloat by procuring his ingredients from Connecticut and other local states, a practice that he has continues to this day.
Brian attributes the company’s success during this time to his ability act quickly in procuring his resources and reducing any redundancies. When asked about his marketing strategies Brian admits that it is mostly by word of mouth. Both he and his wife keep up with local events, reach out to new restaurants, and go grocery stores in order to supply them with samples. He noted that this has been fairly successful and has found that he is able to pick up new clients easily by having a physical presence.
Though he relies on more conventional marketing tactics, the company has a digital presence as well. There is a Facebook page that is updated regularly with new partnerships and promotions. Brian admits he does not track any of the pages analytics, but has noticed an increase in foot traffic to their main facility since its implementation.
In reflection on the year so far, Brian mentioned that he actually saw an increase in business. Though it was slow when the lockdown began, demand for his products shot up around May, a demand that has continued to grow throughout the season. He has been growing the company at a steady 5% each year and expects to close out this year with a 6-7% increase in profit. In addition to the increased business, Cape Cod Stuffed Quahog Company has been nominated for an award by Yankee magazine, which was introduced to his product through a customer in Boston. Brian hopes that this nomination will only increase the value of his brand and provide the business with more marketing opportunities.
Looking for authentic Mexican food? Look no farther than Casa Vallarta Mexican Restaurant in Brockton, MA!
Author: Kelsey Alarcon-Aguilar, BSU student
From a small town in Mexico, Maria Elena Delgadillo and her husband Miguel Ramos worked together to give Brockton a taste of Mexico. With their authentic Mexican inspired dishes like crispy chimichangas, tacos, enchiladas, and much more! They have a large variety of authentic drinks like horchata and their exhilarating margaritas. Elena and Miguel own several other Locations of Casa Vallarta in Massachusetts, but the Brockton location stands out for their friendly staff, amazing chef with original recipes, and stunning bartender. They also offer fresh guacamole to be made at the table.
On December 15, 2017 the grand opening in Brockton happened a couple minutes away from the Westgate Mall. While interviewing Elena about her reasoning behind opening up her business she said “I chose to open up this location to expand my restaurant's business and the reason I opened up any restaurants to begin was because I love food. I love cooking and I like to help people by creating jobs!”.As she was able to have her good friends and family working there, it made the restaurant experience better as she had a lot of support and people to count on. Elena and her husband Miguel have two kids, Anayelli and Miguel. The Delgadillo/Ramos Family lives in Connecticut and travel a little over two hours, and three when caught in traffic, to the business in Brockton, which can sometimes be a challenge for Miguel and Elena. Elena said the restaurant business has gotten in the way of her “mom duties” as she was at times unable to attend school events as she worked long hours, was caught up with inspection, or something went wrong.
Luckily, the location on Oak Street was already a restaurant before so they didn’t start from the bottom. At this location, the restaurant things were in place giving Elena and her husband an advantage. They had previous experience since they already had opened a couple restaurants before, but they had to make sure they would be successful. Elena said when her kids were old enough to understand what was going on, she immediately was able to bring them to work and introduce them to the business. She said “I would never change a thing, I would do it the same way over and over again”.
The technology aspect of things runs smoothly. Elena and her husband invest in numerous ads and nowadays everyone googles for places to eat, which gets a lot of customers in the restaurant. Elena mentioned about how GrubHub and DoorDash were a big hit for her restaurant with the constant take-outs. Being the 21st Century and everyone relying on the internet, Elena says, “it helps my business a lot and we get more customers in, since everyone is on their phones and posting pictures helping get more people in”. Elena’s kids are also always on their phones she said and that helps a lot as they attract a younger crowd.
Some obstacles she has been caught in were: during coronavirus when they had to shut down for a little bit, but once they were up and running for takeout she still had all her supporters which helped to maintain the restaurant open and she is grateful for that. Elena and her husband live in fear the pandemic will get worse again before it gets better and restaurant business will have to shut down.
Visit Casa Vallarta at 610 Oak Street in Brockton, MA.
You can contact them via:
Author: Emily McNeil, BSU Student
Entitled Beer Company, located on North Street in downtown Hingham, has been making strides in quality and consistency despite losing around 50% of its business due to Covid-19 shut-downs and restrictions. Owner Brian Barry grew up in Braintree, Massachusetts and started working in restaurants as a teenager. Developing a passion for beer, Brian decided to start his Company, Entitled Brewing Company, accidentally in 2014. “I was always passionate about beer and homebrewing and made a recipe for a restaurant I work at that was only sold there. People loved the beer so much I decided to build a company around it.” Combine a love of good beer and the desire to work for himself, Entitled Brewing Company was born.
Starting a business from scratch was no cakewalk for Brian. “The toughest thing was probably learning to mass produce a product while keeping the beer fresh.” Beer must be kept around 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit for storage, which became difficult in the New England summer’s heat. He says, “The reaction of the customers that loved my beer inspired me to keep going.” With persistence and support from family, friends, and fans, Brian succeeded to create the beer so many local customers loved, and now has a product line of 6 different Beers; the Entitled IPA, New England IPA, Betterment, Wit and Wisdom, Artie’s Strong Arm, and Therapy Session. He says when starting a business on your own that “I would have trusted my gut more and not let others influence my decisions. The most difficult challenge was creating brand awareness and growing at a manageable pace.”
With the development of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not a surprise that many local companies such as Entitled faced many challenges. With the loss of jobs and closure of various restaurant, Brian lost about 50% of his customer base. Bars and restaurants closing were a huge problem for Entitled, as customers could not get drinks or draft beers. Brian decided to change his methods for sales and began offering his beer in take-out in restaurant like Caffe Tosca, in Hingham. With restrictions further lifting, when asked about the future of his business in 6 months to a year Brian says “I would like to see it back to where it was prior to Covid-19. I try to keep my goals reasonable in order to grow at a comfortable pace.” When asked further about future growth, and whether stepping-back and being more of a passive owner or further increasing his involvement in the company, he says a hybrid of the two would be best. “I would love to increase sales while also allowing other to manage the day to day for a fresh perspective. I feel that by stepping back and allowing others to manage the daily grind, it would allow me to see my business through another lens.”
However, the future looks bright for Entitled, which is a lot to say after so many businesses closed/failed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Entitled Brewing Company relies mainly on word-of-mouth to bring in new customers, but with the development of a new website and increased social media presence, he hopes to change that. “What makes us stand out is the consistency of the liquid, which is always fresh and always delicious, as well as the value of the beer on the retail market. I have always classified my beers as dangerously drinkable. The reason they should choose Entitled is because you will not get a better product at the value ours is sold for. I wanted to price my beers at a price point that the average income can enjoy, while still maintaining the highest quality.
Author: Jeffrey Robinson, BSU student
Confectionately Yours Bakery owner, Kristen McKenna, makes some of the best customized cakes you have ever seen, along with many other items. Her mouth-watering cupcakes made from a family recipe for traditional buttercream frosting, and she also makes fresh muffins, cookies, and a variety of other baked goods. I had the pleasure of interviewing Kristen about her bakery in Quincy earlier this week and I was amazed by her talent. If you don’t believe me, just take a look for yourself!
Kristen started cake decorating as a hobby when she was in college to make money on the side and really loved it. Her father, Danny, started noticing how amazing she was at it and after some conversations they both decided to give it a go and open their bakery together over 7 years ago in 2013. Being born and raised in Quincy, it was an easy decision for them to open up shop in town. Today, Confectionately Yours Bakery is one of the few customized cake bakeries around and truly is a father/daughter owned local business.
Customer service is key in this line of service, and you may be surprised to know it’s Kristen answering the phone when you call. Her dedication and care for the customer truly sets Confectionately Yours apart from other bakeries. There is almost no decoration she can’t tackle, and she will work with you on perfecting the design. Most people start by looking at her gallery of work and come up with an idea of what they would like from there. Kristen is very enthusiastic about her work and will make sure the final product exceeds your expectations. In the beginning when they first opened, they tried using some marketing tools but over the years have realized that their work speaks for itself. Word of mouth is the best marking tool and they are able to simply use social media to get more business.
With Covid-19 bringing almost everything to a halt, Kristen and her father had to come up with a new game plan. Most weddings and other big events, like birthdays, were unfortunately cancelled in the early stages, but Kristen is looking at this with an optimistic view and with the glass half full. Now that our economy is slowly starting to open back up, more people are coming back to get customized cakes for their loved ones. Cupcakes are growing in popularity and a great option for some people as you can hand them out easier while following social distancing guidelines. She is also seeing an increase in smaller, more intricate cakes since gatherings most likely involve smaller crowds.
Words can’t describe how amazing these customized cakes come out. Don’t just take my word for it, Confectionately Yours has been the winner of the Readers Choice Awards for the last 7 years since 2014, Best Desserts by Restaurant Guru in 2019, Best of Surveys in 2019 and the Nextdoor Neighborhood Favorite Award in 2019. To leave you with a little fun fact, Kristen has also made customized cakes for the Seattle Seahawks and Mark Wahlburg!
Visit Confectionately Yours Bakery at 764 Hancock Street in Quincy, MA.
Contact them via:
Phone Number: 617-328-6333
Author: Amy Guinen, BSU student
Top Notch Nutrition, located at 2307 State Rd, Plymouth MA, is serving up the tastiest protein shakes and mega teas you will ever have. Delicious and nutritious are key components to the family run shake business.
Lindsey Ward, owner and coach at Top Notch Nutrition, has been a resident of Plymouth her entire life. In high school, Lindsey found a love for health and fitness after her mother decided to transform her life and become healthier. She learned how to take care of her body and wanted to help others achieve their goals. It became a passion. Lindsey knew that she wanted to give people a quick healthy option and with that passion, Top Notch Nutrition was created.
Before starting Top Notch Nutrition, Lindsey and her mother had clients around town that they would help in their healthy journey. One of their biggest obstacles when starting to get the business together was the idea of not knowing how. Owning and operating a business was something new to them and not knowing what they needed to get it up and running was difficult. They also needed to learn about the financial aspect, as well as marketing to new clients. In the interview, Lindsey stated that her clients and many people around town were giving them support and encouragement to get the business going. People were depending on the business to open, and she knew that they couldn’t give up. The support of the clients and community inspired Lindsey and her mother while getting the business off the ground. On April 28th, 2017 Top Notch Nutrition was officially opened.
Lindsey stated that if she was able to go back to day one and change anything, she wouldn’t. She stated that everything they went through was how she learned to run her business and what got them to where they are now, three years later.
There is always changing factors when owning a business and new problems to overcome. This year proved no different for Lindsey. In March of 2020 Lindsey became full owner of Top Notch Nutrition after she bought the remaining business from her mother. This was the same day that Governor Baker announced that the state of Massachusetts was going into quarantine. Not only did Lindsey need to navigate the differences in being the sole owner, she needed to navigate the changes and rules set forth due to the current pandemic. Lindsey also already had plans to start a renovation of the club they were in. While all this was happening at once, she said a “calm panic” had taken over. Since the pandemic and navigating through the new regulations, they were able to stay open the whole time by offering curbside pickup and text ahead ordering.
Technology offers a big part in the growth of business. Lindsey stated that technology is one of the biggest ways they are bringing new clients. They are primarily found on Facebook. There you can find their up-to-date hours, as well as specials they are having and any info about giveaways. They also use Instagram to show off their delicious and healthy shake options as well as conduct polls of the products they offer.
While talking to Lindsey you could tell her sense of pride for her business and her love of her customers. Lindsey stated that she values every single one of her customers. She wants her customers to be the number one priority. She also stated that her goal isn’t just to sell her products but to be able to provide something nutritious for her customers and to instill some positivity into each of their days. Lindsey and her employees always make a priority to make sure her customers know they are appreciated. Whether they are telling each and every one of them to have an amazing day or doing multiple customer appreciation days, they just want their customers to feel valued.
Author: Jacqueline Nee, BSU student
2020 has been a tumultuous year for so many businesses, yet Ellie’s Treats has found a niche market in delivering smiles in the form of ice cream sundaes and treats to families all over the South Shore. When food truck festivals, fireworks and booked events started getting cancelled, Dan and Katie Keefe, who own Ellie’s Treats, knew that they needed to change their approach to market to be successful in the 2020 season.
Ellie’s Treats is owned and operated by husband and wife duo Dan and Katie. Dan is the primary owner and had operated ice cream trucks for over 10 years. Dan has also worked in the food industry most of his career and that is where they met. While working in a restaurant and over time decided to try something on their own. They saved and bought a truck to start their unique desert food truck business which they named after their daughter Ellie. They started Ellie’s Treats in 2018 and they serve up custom sundaes and treats wherever the road brings them. Dan is the ice cream scooper and food truck maintainer, while Katie’s the social media queen. This is a great partnership which has helped them to build a successful company and grow during a time that has challenged many local businesses. Most years they travel to food truck rodeos, fireworks and other local events. They sell delicious hand-made ice cream sundaes, ice cream novelties treats and slushes right out of their colorfully painted Ellie’s Treats truck.
So I wondered, what do they consider the secret to their success and recent boom in business? Faced with Covid 19 and the social distancing guidelines, they started a new approach with home sundae kit deliveries. In the midst of the pandemic when people were not leaving their homes much, the Ellie’s treats team masked up, gloved up and delivered the goodies directly to customer around the South Shore. Kids got to wait in the window and watch for the ice cream truck to come right to them! It became a local phenomenon and most of the spread was due to their use of Facebook. Social media has been their primary mode of contact with potential customers and booking customers. Katie said that her very first post about delivery of sundae kits currently has over 50,000 likes. Their Facebook page went from several hundred likes to over 5,000 likes. Information regarding delivery days and options was transmitted via Facebook and according to Katie, they “went viral”. When people were really stuck at home and looking for something to do, Ellie’s Treats was able to deliver. Now that businesses are starting to bring employees back in to the office, Ellie’s is offering some services there as well. They have been able to deliver to businesses for corporate events, such as employee appreciation days, while maintaining proper social distancing procedures.
Their hope is that for the near future, business will maintain as it has been for the last few months. So many local businesses on the South Shore are facing uncertainty and the small businesses have been hit the hardest. Ellie’s Treats have been able to embrace technology and social media in conjunction with creative business strategies to be able to thrive in a challenging market. Like most business they hope that the trend continues for them. The largest uncertainty for Ellie’s Treats right now is wondering what will happen next year and whether the current pandemic will influence new changes for next year. There are still some towns that are restricting the sale of food from food trucks and if other towns were to develop new regulations, it could affect business. Dan and Katie admitted that the last several months has been a huge learning curve for them as a business as they continue to respond to demand and the current market. I believe their proven ability to adapt and work with a situation will help them to be successful despite whatever the coming year brings.
Author: Luis Velazquez, BSU student
Avon House of Pizza (AHOP), located on Main Street in Avon, has been a family-owned business for over 40 years serving the community with high-quality food. It is due to this focus of high-quality that AHOP has become the go-to location for a slice of pizza, dinner platters, and great pasta dinner. Established in 1978 by owner Peter Panagopoulos, and overtaken by son James, alongside his wife Maria in 1995. AHOP’s goal is to provide great food with large portions for a great price. The great thing about AHOP is that as soon as you enter their doors they make you feel like family.
Jimmy, the current owner of AHOP and son of Peter Panagopoulos, can be quoted as stating “We do not have any frozen foods delivered, we do not premake anything, we make almost everything from scratch and it shows in the taste. We make our sauce and dough on a daily basis. We provide such high-quality hand made foods at a great price that you will want to come back and visit us.”
Through the power of the internet, AHOP has expanded its services where you can order online to make it easier for you to have a meal delivered or have the menu in front of you at any time so you can arrive and know exactly what you want to order. AHOP’s menu can be found on their website (http://www.avonhouseofpizza.com); and, you can also visit their Facebook site to see photos, posts, reviews, videos, etc.
Why do I go back? That is easy, it’s a friendly environment and as soon as you go in you are greeted by Jimmy or his wife, Maria, on a first-name basis. I enjoy going to a place where my family is treated as one of the AHOP family members.
Tell me about your business.
We are a family business with over 40 years of servicing the community. We focus on providing the best foods with large portions for a great price. We want everyone to feel like family and they were treated as such.
Why did you choose this line of business?
Well, this business chose me. Since the age of 15 years old, I worked from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm on Saturdays helping my parents clean or even making pizza dough in a small restaurant they had nearby in Avon. After high school, I attended Boston University where I changed my major, which was towards premedical, to dental technician. However, I continued to work with my parents on Saturdays at the restaurant. Later, I made the decision that changed my life forever, I decided to work at the family business and I have never regretted this decision. The pizza business has always been in my familys blood.
When did it start? What Year?
AHOP was established in 1978, I took it over after my father retired in 1995.
What was the toughest thing you went through when opening? What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
The biggest challenge was the renovation of the pizzeria. The location was a hair salon, so the transformation from that type of business to what we wanted and envisioned was a challenge. However, we had so many high expectations to succeed that this was the fuel that inspired us to keep going and get it off the ground.
If you had to start over from day 1 what would you have done differently? Or what was your most difficult challenge?
To tell you the truth, there is nothing that I would have done differently. The most difficult challenge to date is the technology, I’m not into technology as I should be. I leave that part to my son Peter who manages the website, social media, etc.
What is the toughest part of having a business in 2020?
Now? COVID-19. The pandemic has caused our restaurant to be closed on Mondays, in addition to our original day off, which was Sunday.
If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out?
Well, first is the quality of food, We make everything by hand. NOTHING is bought frozen, NOTHING is premade; our portions, I believe, are big. What makes me stand out? I believe it’s our personality; we treat everyone like family and we want everyone to be satisfied when they leave our location.
What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
Our website is constantly being updated, we advertise and bring in new items, and stay active on our social media platforms.
Has internet technology (website, online ads, social media, etc) played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
To tell you the truth I’m happy with where it’s at, I would not change anything.
Visit Avon House of Pizza at 163 Main Street in Avon, MA.
Contact them via:
Phone: (508) 588-7970 / (508) 583-7444
Facebook: Avon House of Pizza
Author: Ariss Maher, BSU Student
Question: So, let’s start with are you from this local area?
Answer: Always has been in the South Shore Area. Grew up in Quincy, Massachusetts and now lives in Weymouth, Massachusetts.
Q: Tell me about your business.
A: It's a mobile raw bar service. Catering for weddings, parties, breweries, and other events big or small. The food on the menu consists of a variety of local, fresh seafood options for example Oysters, shrimp, clams, ceviches, lobster salads etc. Services are offered in the South shore area and greater Boston area.
Q: Why did you choose this line of business?
A: Has been in the Restaurant industry for years and had access to a restaurant to work out of. So the setup was minimal and an easy starting point to get right into.
Q: When did it start? What Year?
A: It started at the end of the summer of 2017. In the spring of 2019 however is when it really started to take off.
Q: What was it that made you want to start this business?
A: Was working in a restaurant for several years and wanted to branch off and do something for himself in the same industry.
Q: What was the toughest thing you went through when opening? What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
A: Opening was relatively easy due to the connections in the restaurant industry. It was a minimal investment overall. The inspiration to keep going is being around people, the love for food, and just having a good time.
Q: If you had to start over from day 1, what would you have done differently?
A: Would have started the business sooner and not been hesitant to start. Also, purchased a smaller van with a lower payment.
Q: What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
A: For a small business that only is part-time, the fees and taxes involved can be tough to compensate.
Q: What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
A: Social media, online, and connections in the Restaurant industry.
Q: Has Internet technology (website, online ads, social media, etc.) played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
A: Internet technology has been the main source for the growth in the company. So yes, It has played a very big part in making the company successful.
Q: If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out?
A: In general this business is very unique and not very common. It is specialized and provides only but the freshest seafood and ingredients.
Q: If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
A: Hopefully to be full-time and maybe a store front for the company.
Author: Kerby Felix, BSU student
Caribbean food has always been a favorite for many of us because of the culture that it brings to our lives, and to our taste buds. Family is something that we all value and cherish. My family, the Bernard’s, and the Bellanton’s came up with a solution to start their own small business.
Lakay Kreyol is a family owned and family operated business. The head chef is Nahomie Bellanton, and she is also the owner of the business. Nahomie started her business after she had a scare of being diagnosed with cancer, but God pulled through when she found out the test results. After she found out she was free of anything that could harm her, her kids motivated her to take her skills from the kitchen and let the community have a bite of her amazing food and talent. The owner mentions in an Instagram Post, “I have always been passionate about cooking and serving others, it brings me so much joy.” After Interviewing Nahomie, and being around her and her family, I can see why it brings her joy. Nahomie started her business this year in January 2020, and just by looking at social media and promotion, in just three months, they have managed to attack the small business industry in catering. Peter Bernard, Nahomie’s son, does the web developing for the business, and Mary Magdala Bernard, and Esther Bernard acts as the “Supervisor, and Secretary” of the business. Nahomie mentions that working from home is tough because of how many things she has to buy and store away for her small business. Her grandchildren stay with her at times, and they serve as great little helpers. She elaborates on how grateful she is to have the chance to do what she has dreamed of, and how she can show her kids, and grandkids that anything is possible with God.
Lakay Kreyol serves Caribbean food, in particular, Haitian special dishes. “Fritay” is a famous dish that many people look for when they want something crunchy, spicy, and tender meat. If you fly to Haiti, this is one of the dishes they try to make you buy when you first arrive to Haiti. This is because it serves as a signature dish, and it fills you up for a good portion of your day. Nahomie talks about living in Haiti before arriving here in the US. Her joy also comes from many businesses around her in Haiti, serving food and operating their own business to make enough money to make a living. As we know, in 3rd world countries, it is tough to do many of the things we find ourselves used to. Nahomie took what she knew and made it a reality. Lakay Kreyol also serves Dinner Plates; these plates range from many different selections, depending on what you want as a customer.
Moving forward, Nahomie talks about the beginning being the toughest part, because she felt tired, overwhelmed, and wondered if people would buy her food. But with God, and the help from her kids, she managed to put her business online on many platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, Gmail, Facebook, and even appear on other food business pages. You can find them under “Lakay Kreyol”. Promotion and advertising are important, and her family makes sure that the business is well represented. In just three months, they have managed to reach almost 800 followers on Instagram! What makes Lakay Kreyol stand out is, it’s a family owned business, and being able to deliver food to customers. Lakay Kreyol is also planning to host events, and they really know how to throw an event!
"We specialize in Caribbean cuisine, Popup Kitchen Open Saturday 2:00PM-8:00PM. Call to put in your orders! Venmo: Lakay-Kreyol, CashApp:LakayKreyol”
Contact Lakay Kreyol via:
Facebook: @Lakay kreyol20
Author: Edward Matanes, BSU student
Coffee, which dates back to 800 AD goat herders, is now a liquid gold that fuels 107 million Americans every day. Although coffee is widely consumer, the competition is absolutely cut throat and is riddled with roadblocks and obstacles for anyone trying to enter. From Dunkin, Starbucks, Honey Dew, McDonalds, and now Amazon, it's nearly impossible to compete with these giants. However, Dennis Toomey, has taken them on, and has fought hard for every inch.
A business birthed from Toomey’s sales cubical in 2016, started as a weekend side business. Originally named “Death before NOREP Coffee”, his company was aimed at the fitness community - especially CrossFit and Powerlifting. Toomey, still to this day does pop up booths at various fitness competitions, and athletes can rest easy as his products are of the highest quality. Toomey would soon rebrand to “Church St. Brewing Company” and the company would soon become profitable as the demand and reputation grew. If you were competing in CrossFit or Powerlifting you sought out the competitions “Church St. Brewing Co” would be attending. This high demand created the opportunity Toomey was looking for. He took the full time leap, leaving his job in sales, and taking his coffee business to the next level.
The challenges a small coffee brewing business face are constantly arising. Dennis laughed as I asked what is the toughest thing you have faced, and he jokingly said “the question should be what is the toughest thing you are currently experiencing”. He says “It's 24/7, 365. The hardest part is keeping up with the competition’’. Maintaining a business and family life - especially as a new father - have proven to be very challenging as well. These challenges have provided great rewards though. The joy of return orders, and the creation of life long customers, have kept Toomey inspired and fueled to keep fighting. He says “the people I get to meet are amazing, I love hearing their stories. How they first fell in love with coffee or even how they got into fitness”.
Church St. Brewing Company has taken another leap recently, from a small pop up business to a 3,200 square foot brewing facility in Canton, MA in 2018. The company offers their famous Costa Rican nitro cold brew coffee and beer. They have done this all without the help of investors, partners, or bank loans. Something Denis is extremely proud of. Currently the facility is used for brewing both coffee and beer for wholesale and their pop ups. The plan for the facility is to be a full service seating location in the next six months.
Small business owners face unique challenges in 2020 that they may not have faced in years prior. Amazon, is hailed by consumers, yet it has created an abundant amount of stress and challenges for small business owners. Denis says that his ecommerce sales have suffered due to Amazon's free next day delivery. They have had to adapt and overcome by offering unique products at a reasonable, but profitable price. On top of that, they must be able to deliver very quickly, just to be included in a consumer's consideration.
Gaining new customers for any business is not only an important task but a difficult one. Church St. Brewing Company utilizes pop ups as their primary way of reaching new people. Denis admits that he is there in person to meet new and potential consumers. “I really rely on showing my face, I am at 90% of my pop ups. I bring new customers by gaining their confidence, showing that they are a small, family owned and operated business”. Denis believes that face to face interactions along with a superior product have been his greatest asset when obtaining new customers.
The current state of Church St. Brewing Company is exciting, as they are really finding their stride. Alongside their high quality products, they bring a refreshing level of energy to the coffee business. At the end of the day, Dennis’ Costa Rican roots and coffee leave you craving and ordering more.