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Monday, July 26, 2010

Le Bus Bakery

What started out as a small bus providing breads for the University of Penn, quickly turned into a successful small business.

Le Bus, located in King of Prussia has been baking and selling their good since 1978. I remember first hearing of them when they opened their retail store in Manayunk, PA. That location is since gone, as the focus of the company has been more on distribution.

First, what do they sell.? Le Bus offers a line of artisan breads, rolls and pastries. Simple enough? Well, not really. What they do offer is the skill and experience in baking those breads to perfection. It is a passion that comes through with every bite.

Once the word got out, and the quality of their product was recognized and demanded, Le Bus started wholesaling their goods to area supermarkets and restaurant chains. Saladworks is a client, so if you ever ate there, and said, "MAN! I love the bread!", well, that's a Le Bus roll you just ate!.

Anyone who knows anything about bread here in PA knows that a good roll has a shelf life of about 12 hours. Once it gets to "tomorrow", the roll or bread has lost it's crunchy crust, and very soft inside. There have been many theories about why this is. It's gotta be the water!, maybe it's the climate here in the east? All we know is that bread is no good west of the Mississippi.

Le Bus, in order to combat that challenge, offers their clients flash freezing. That is the process of literally flash freezing their goods and allowing them to be baked again in order for clients to cut down on waste, and still offer a very fresh product to their customers.

They still offer their freshest products to area super markets. They have a DSD system (Direct Store Delivery) in the area that delivers their products daily so that you, the consumer, can enjoy their products at the peak of freshness.

Currently, Le Bus has 3 retail locations. One in the Reading Terminal Market, one on South St in Philly, and they have the outlet store right on Shoemaker Rd. in King of Prussia.

Aside from offering a high quality product, utilizing old world techniques to fashion their bread, rolls, and pastries, they built and executed a plan to market and distribute a product that is very difficult to do so because of how fast quality dissipates. Kudos to them for solving a problem and being able to service an area as wide as the Delaware Valley.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Building a business on expertise

One of the driving forces behind someone wanting to start their own business is what they have in terms of a skill set. That skill set is usually gained through education and experience in something that they have a passion for.

In the case of King Shooters Supply, that's exactly how it happened. Roger Burris started shooting in 1985 and by 1986 began better bullets inc. Better Bullets was founded out of the need to do exactly what the name implies. Make a better bullet.

He built a round that performed to the highest industry standards. A cleaner, harder, and more accurate round that uses a special hardened alloy to provide better performance. Roger went on to develop and design the process improvements which have been incorporated by the manufacturer of the equipment that the bullets are made by. The bullets are nationally known and are used by Competition Champions as well as law enforcement and gun manufacturers. All told they use about 10,000 lbs. of alloy a month to keep up with production.

In 2003, Better Bullets moved into a larger shop and started King Shooters Supply to provide a retail location. In this location they sell everything from guns, to accessories, to ammunition. They work with local law enforcement and with the county departments making sure everyone is kept up to date on new products, improvements, and technology.

The store meets the needs of every type of shooter. Hunters, recreation shooters, competition shooters, those looking for self defense, and even paint ballers will be well served by the experienced staff. Roger is "papered up" as well with certifications from several manufacturers as a certified gun smith for those specific brands. His qualifications and expertise are well documented by numerous national and local organizations.

So if you are looking for a weapon for whatever reason, ever had an interest in shooting, or are even just curious, you can be sure that your answers will be met by qualified people who are passionate and skillful in the industry.

King Shooters Supply is located in King of Prussia, PA. The retail store compliments their on-line business and they are open 5 days a week. Click the links for directions and their sites!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Realtors are small biz pros

I met some friends at a local watering hole recently and people were talking about old acquaintances and what people were up to these days. One had made mention of a guy who was a Realtor and worked for Century 21. The conversation progressed and I listened to some pretty ridiculous notions about Realtors.

What struck me most peculiar was that this person actually thought that the title Realtor was an employed position. I assume most people know that when one "becomes" a Realtor, it's not a job. It's a business.

The fact is, Realtors are small business people. It's a career opportunity, yes, but you are pretty much accountable for your own success. You get the benefit of being under a National brand that helps lend credibility, provides recognition, and most importantly, training for your new venture, but a a professional, you are your own boss. Your revenue (and income) is determined by your abilities, effort, and knowledge.

Just as any other business owner, it's up to them to put forth the plan, the effort, and the resources to obtain whatever level of success they desire.

Local Realtors understand their communities. A good one will know the laws, the zoning, the properties up for sale, the school districts, the tax base, the bank rates, which banks are actively pursuing lending money, re-fi rates, etc. How is the housing market? Is it trending up, is it trending down, where can you get the best deal, what is the worst deal.

All of this can be found via an internet search, of course, but the local Realtor has it at their finger tips, AND has it locally. They aren't dealing in industry or national estimates. They have real time info directly related to your needs within your area. Having a friend in the Real Estate business is a huge advantage for anyone. You never know what opportunity will come their way, and by you being their friend, could ultimately come YOUR way.

The good ones are some of the hardest working people I know, and they deserve the recognition for going out of their way to attend to every single request they get. Some think it may be glamorous, some think it may be easy. I know from talking to these people that neither apply.

"The best part of my business is when I actually get to a close and the people who thought that owning a home would be impossible, finally realize their dreams", said Bill Frederick, a Realtor with Keller Williams in Horsham. "It makes all that data gathering, site visits, and conversations with banks all worth the while"'

Being a Real Estate agent is a tough business. There is a lot of turn over in Realty. You probably know someone who "tried" it, or someone who hinted at maybe giving it a try, but excuses such as, "it's not a good time to get in the market", or "there are so many of them to compete with" fly around as reasons not to. The truth is, Realty is a tough a job as any out there. Talk to any Realtor you know, and you'll soon find out what it takes.

They certainly aren't employees. They are truly, some of the best small business people around. They know that they can't sit and wait for someone to come in and buy something. It's not a waiting game like many businesses that sell goods. All someone like that can do is stock the shelves, put a marketing plan in place, and open the doors. Realtors have to go out and get their business. And they do it well.

So go pat one on the back next time you see them. They deserve it.

disclaimer: I am not a Realtor :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How do you become a millionaire?

A nickle at a time! That should always be the answer for anyone aspiring to become wealthy. There are no tricks. It's good old fashioned hard work and a little bit of good timing (some refer to this as luck), but the credo stands true.

Ask any financial adviser and he'll say the same thing. Don't look to make a big score. The larger the return the greater the risk taken. But if you get yourself into a good plan, earning a little at a time, steadily, over time, the wealth will build.

Ever notice why there are so many banks in the area? Have you noticed? Next time you stop at any major intersection, take a look. Count them. There is usually one on every corner, and don't forget to count the one inside the supermarket.

WHY do you think there are so many banks? How do you think they make their money? A nickel at a time! All those accounts come with transaction fees. ATM fees, check fees, annual fees, interest rates, monthly fees, etc.

With recent history, banks aren't everyone's favorite monkey either. However, they are a necessary part of our lives. In fact, I don't know how anyone survives in today's world without the use of a financial institution.

That brings me to the point. With the multitude of banks to choose from, there are still locally owned options. Continental Bank is one of those options in our area. Harleysville Bank is another, as well as Alliance Bank. In fact there are many to choose from.

So coming up, I am working on some interviews with local bank officials to find out their philosophies on operating within the community and why it's beneficial to use them versus the larger national banks. It used to be that local banks just didn't offer enough branches to be convenient for their consumers. Not anymore. Branches are becoming more and more irrelevant. With these interviews, I am learning more and more about the advantages of using these local institutions over the larger national ones and will write about them here.

I am also close to bringing the battle of the bakery's post to a close. One more interview and we will have a good "spread" to choose from! Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Birthday America!

Here's wishing everyone a very happy Independence Day! Celebrate Hard! But be safe!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Frosty Falls!

If you've ever driven through Bridgeport you may have noticed the quaint little building that resides right along side the River, across the street from the big red brick building on Dekalb.

That little building is Frosty Falls. A family run business that caters not only those looking for Frosty Treats, but to those looking for a little grub as well.

Frosty uses only the best ingredients in their sandwiches with Boars Head brand meats and Conshy Bakery rolls. They also serve 28 flavors of Hershey Ice Cream as well as water ice and Soft serve.

Sound familiar? Sound like your typical family owned deli style shop that serves ice cream as well? how about the attention to detail they show their customers? Once a week Frosty falls has free train rides for all the kiddies, and being by the river always makes for a cool time.

They are open throughout the spring and summer and most of the fall. Times vary upon the weather but you're certainly missing out if you don't hit this place at least once.

Frosty Falls is just one of those places that the kids need to experience. It's that much fun!