Friday, June 10, 2011
Having had a sandwich or two from the establishment, I can attest to their attitude about pride. They take the time to be sure that what they offer is of the highest quality, every time. Chris and his team never settle for less when it comes to serving his customers. The product is of the highest quality from the rolls to the meats to the service.
Located on Airy and Swede where the old Montgomery Lunch used to reside, Planet Hoagie has been serving law firms, court house traffic, and local workers for the past 8 years. "We still get the occasional couple who just got their marriage licenses", said Chris with a smile. What better way to celebrate anticipated nuptials? In addition to their local business, the shop also delivers. From King of Prussia to Conshohoken, all the way to even Blue Bell, they cover a wide service area. "Some of the law firms in this area have branch offices in nearby towns. They love our sandwiches so much they have those offices order for delivery." said Aquila.
Planet Hoagie has a daily schedule of 9:00am to 3pm Monday through Friday. What was originally just a hoagie shop, Chris saw the the need to widen the menu with all of the traffic in and around town. Three years ago they added a grill adding steak sandwiches, breakfast items, cheeseburgers and even a fryer for french fries, chicken fingers, etc...
When I went to speak to Chris about doing this article for his shop, what really resonated out of it for me was his concern for business in Norristown. It was out of anticipation for his own shop either. The guys here love the town, and they want to see it grow. "It's a great place and there is a lot of opportunity and potential", said Chris. I tell you, there's nothing better than to obtain products or services from a place that really has a passion for where they reside and do business. It shows in those products and you'll never be disappointed.
Hit this place up next time you're in the area. You won't be disappointed!
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Go to the link and vote for the business you like best! Check out the categories and start voting away!
CLICK HERE TO VOTE ONLINE NOW!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I finally got to Conshy last week and was met by Chris. The daughter of one of the founders. We had a pleasant conversation and a quick tour, meeting both her brother and her father. What they do there is nothing short of miraculous to bring the area the finest in bread and rolls.
First off, the tour was really shocking. I don't know why. All you have to do is think about what they do and you could probably form a concept of how much work goes into doing what they do, but I was totally surprised. First off, they get a bulk delivery of about 50,000 pounds of flour every six days. It goes into this hopper and from there is distributed via pipeline to the different mixers. Truly something to be seen and not what you'd expect from looking outside of the quaint little building in Conshohocken. Especially from looking at the little retail shop from inside the doors. It's truly a huge undertaking with ovens and proofing rooms and mixers and cooling rooms, etc. Not everything is automated either. This is truly a craft. Every Kaiser roll that has an "x" marked on top is made by hand. From the hoagie rolls to the zep rolls to everything in between all get attention by hand at some point in the process.
80 percent of their business is wholesale and the other 20 percent is retail. They make tomato pie, rolls, breads, and baked goods for every type of eatery or consumer. With 11 independent route drivers they service just about 15 counties surrounding the Delaware Valley. "We get calls from Maryland and Virginia almost on a daily basis but being a daily delivery product it's hard to reach further out", said Mike, now a partner with his father Dominic in the business.
Anyone who is anyone knows the quality of their breads and rolls and also realizes that the quality is time sensitive. Great breads from this area are no good after 24 hours. "You can freeze them, and use them later, but that's only for hot sandwiches. You shouldn't do it for cold sandwiches.", said Dominic. Obviously a sandwich connoisseur and knows his product. For what it's worth, I agree completely. Trust me, I know my sandwiches. :)
Dominic Gambone founded Conshocken Bakery in 1973 with his partner Frank Manzi. Both of whom worked at Morabito Bakery in Norristown. They bought a $12,000 oven from the closing Phoenixville state hospital at auction (which is still in use today), and got to work.
From those days it has grown into an area household name. They brand some of their rolls for customers such as McNally's at Citizens Bank Park. The "Schmitter" is made specifically for that sandwich and Conshy bakery provides it. They just don't serve sandwich shops either. Some of the best restaurants in the area serve conshy products. "Because of the independent drivers, it's sometimes hard for us gauge just who exactly we are serving at all times. The drivers like to keep their customers close to their own vests", said Chris. Can you blame them?
On any given day they average 50 employees to complete the daily orders working overnight, starting around 6pm to have orders done by 3am. Employees work around their shifts to be sure that quality remains the number one priority. Area sandwich shops wouldn't be what they are without Conshy, that's for sure. Ask Lou's, Eve's, or any other of your favorite places that uses Conshy where their business would be without them. I did. Results are obvious.
The retail store is open almost everyday, and you can check their site out for hours. Stop by, grab a tomato pie, some rolls, or bread for the family. Use them for parties, but call in your orders so you know the product will be available. It goes fast! I've posted some pics below of the bakery inside, including the original oven.
One of the Proofing rooms
First Oven ever used
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
That's the idea most people get when they hear about tax consultants or accountants. However, in Lansdale, Joesph Miller, CPA does a lot more than just helping you file your taxes.
For more than 15 years, Miller has been helping the community with all of their financial and business needs as it relates to accounting, taxes, bookkeeping, billing, payroll, and even computer services among other things.
"We have a nice clientele of auto dealerships that we've done for years among other different types of corporate and professional clients", said Doug Miller, Joe's son and the lead tax preparer for the business. "But we also do a lot of personal returns as well. This year we did over 400 1040 returns. The community has come to know that we can help them get it right so that they can be sure they are getting what they deserve back and they get that peace of mind knowing that they had it done right."
Located in Lansdale, Miller started 15 years ago, acquiring two other firms along the way and moving once, literally down the street to accommodate the need for more space.
Miller's firm truly defines the success of a local business when the right tactics are implemented. Do something you love to do, engage family and friends to help with building the business, be sure to provide value and integrity for your customers, be creative in your offering, and have fun doing it.
To see how Joseph Miller can help you or your business, call them for an appointment.
Joseph Miller, CPA
713 W. Main St
Lansdale, PA 19446
Monday, May 9, 2011
For those that maybe tech challenged, or not "hip" to new tactics in Marketing, there is help. I have written a few articles in the past about some companies that can help. Lucky Dog used a local marketing firm and are thrilled with the results.
Below is a reprint of a news release from the Lucky Dog on how it works for them...
Local Business Reaches Millennial Mark on Facebook
The Lucky Dog Saloon Is Proud to Announce Their Facebook Fan page has Reached 1,000 Facebook Fans
LAFAYETTE HILL, PA--(May xx, 2011) – The Lucky Dog Saloon and Grille (www.facebook.com/theluckydogsaloon) has seen the value of social media recently as the restaurants Facebook page recently surpassed the 1,000 fans mark – a number that has grown from 12 in March 2009.
“Seeing us hit 1,000 fans is a great thing. We have such a great community of customers and have the ability each week to make sure they are aware of what is going on at our location.” Barrie Marino, owner of The Lucky Dog Saloon & Grille stated.
Customers are visiting the page to see specials, find out new events and check back The Facebook Freebie, one way we interact with our fans weekly, is a free question and answer to the first round of trivia each Tuesday that we will provide to our fans as a benefit for following the fan page.
to see what the “Facebook Freebie” is for trivia that evening.
One local resident, Marc Weinstein, said, “I think the Lucky Dog has a great fan page and I visit their page several times per week to see the weekend specials and the Tuesday trivia free answer. Their posts are relevant and provide customers with information we otherwise could not receive unless we were at the location.”
Through the social media management of BE Marketing LLC., The Lucky Dog is able to interact with their fans and utilize Facebook as an important . Owners Barrie and Steve receive monthly analytics and speak with Brandon Rost, President of BE Marketing LCC weekly about upcoming promotions.
Steve Marino, Barrie’s husband and owner of The Lucky Dog, states, “Over the last two years we have seen a steady increase in our fan base on Facebook and have been able to utilize our fan page as an integral communication tool between the restaurant and our customers. We knew that we needed to have a presence on Facebook but just did not have the time to manage it. Working with BE Marketing, we have been able to create this online community and provide our customers with another way of interacting with the restaurant.”
The Lucky Dog Saloon & Grille is a local restaurant located in Lafayette Hill, PA. They have been in business for over 10 years. The atmosphere is fun and festive. To make customers feel right at home, they combine an eclectic American menu with a friendly staff and Barrie's delicious homemade desserts.
This is a great case study on how a small business should be utilizing Social Media to help grow their brand and business. But it's also a great case study on how local consumers can find great local business and stay in touch with what they have to offer. As a consumer, being proactive on social media sites will help you find the best deals locally and maybe even find a business you had no idea existed.
Congrats to Lucky Dog Saloon for hitting this milestone! Hit the fan page and find out what you're missing!
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
See, merchant accounts come with a fee. Those are the accounts that allow merchants to accept credit cards. Every retailer that has one must pay a percentage of the purchase price (called a discount rate) and a hard fee or a per transaction fee (or settlement or whatever other "title" each individual provider calls it). In short, every time you swipe your card at any retailer, about 15 people or entities are making money. Pennies at a time albeit, but still, that many people. There's the guy that sold the account into the retailer, the bank that underwrites the transaction, the account that settles it, the equipment company, etc... you get the point.
Some local businesses don't even accept credit cards, although that has gotten few and far between because they need to compete. I see customers these days swipe their card for a $1.03 coffee at Wawa. Why is Wawa accepting credit cards for a coffee when you can't charge a medium pie at Joe's? Well because Wawa sells a billion dollars worth of coffee a year. Joe, not so much. And every little penny eats into Joe's right to make a profit.
Then there is debit card purchases. Ever notice that most local places will almost beg you to enter a pin when using your atm card? Reason for that is they pay LESS when a pin is entered. Considerably less. Used to be as little as a quarter although today I would think its gone up to at least $-0.75 per. Just a guess, but certainly no discount rate.
Now, let's not get into the debate of whether or not people should be using credit cards for purchases as little as $10 (or $1). This isn't about debt or responsible money management. If the Fed has their way, cash will be gone as soon as yesterday.
So where am I going with this?... Oh that's right... A little bill that not too many people know about. Passed sometime in 2010 this bill, or amendment to the bill puts the burden of those expenses back onto the consumer. That's right folks. You will now be paying for it. And don't think this benefits the local businesses. They don't do enough in sales to really make that much of a difference. It's the Large retailers, the Walmarts, the Home Depots, The Safeway Super markets who will benefit in retaining billions of dollars in fees that YOU will now be paying for with the passing of this amendment.
What was called the Durbin amendment was introduced and passed the floor in 2010. Check out what I'm talking about here.... This also goes far beyond who pays for fees. This will class consumers. This is what the thought of Big Brother was really about. You will be required to keep extra money in your account to guarantee purchases. Debit card purchases could be limited based on your desire to pay those fees. The type of information and how it will be used will be affected, basically rendering everyone a walking marketing survey with every purchase. You want companies knowing how many diapers you purchase? How about cigarettes? Think that someone along the line would like to raise your health insurance premiums because they can see how many cartons of cigarettes you purchased, or bottles of Jamesons?
I think it's time we stop getting ridiculous about big business in this country because they are the ones who pay for the political clout. After all, this is what it's about. Politicians are people. they do what they need to do to keep their job. If that's voting in favor of a rule that benefits a corporation who spends thousands, or even millions on campaign funding to help that politician keep his job, that's what he's going to do. Really, it's not rocket science.
A bill of this nature is only going to add to the destruction of the middle class. Peruse the link I set forth above. Read the other news stories about it via the links on the home page. And get angry! This is serious stuff. It's not only going to add more costs onto the American public, but it's going to add more rules, more restrictions, and more, ahem* control.
I am a regtistered Republican and small business owner. :)
Monday, February 28, 2011
After catching up with Greg on the phone and talking about his product, I am really excited about it and how much help it will provide the community. It is truly unique and offers families peace of mind for their loved ones as well as themselves. Read on...
Tele-Aide was a concept born out of experience and resulting in a necessity for families to really keep an eye on their loved ones. Almost everyone has someone close to them who may be older, sick, and/or lives alone. Some may even be far enough away where daily visits are impossible, and let's face it, in today's world, daily calls are even a stretch. Families find themselves with a need for checking up on their loved ones who may need daily contact to be sure that they are safe and well.
Tele-Aide answers that need. For a relatively small fee, Tele-Aide will contact your loved ones on a daily basis making sure they are well, have taken their medicine, if they are in need of any help, or if they are generally in good shape. Tele-Aide also provides reports to the relatives on any and all activity with calls that were made, what type of activity took place during those calls, and emergency calls to family if anything should be urgent.
Once they get a client, they start a profile on the patient. That profile includes things like the nearest emergency room, first responders, etc. so that if anything is to happen, or if the patient is in need of immediate help, they can respond with the fastest course of action. It also includes a health assessment from an RN for the patient to ensure that calls will include important information.
Tele-aide is an outbound service only. Meaning, they will make the contact to the patient on a daily basis with procedures in place, usually defined with the help of the family, specific to that patient. The patient doesn't have to check in at all. All calls are made directly from Tele-Aide. If there is no response on the first call, they may wait 20 minutes to make a second attempt. If no answer they may wait another 20 and then put into action a call for help by local authorities and contact family.
Calls will be made based off of family needs. Perhaps the patient may be out a specific time during doctor visits, or a bridge league. All calls will be made to ensure the highest level of safety is reached as it pertains to each individual patient.
With families moving farther and farther away, this service is invaluable and may even pay for itself. Cheaper than the gas someone might spend making multiple visits a month, you get the peace of mind of knowing your family member is being contacted every day to ensure their safety.
I've never heard of a service like this and believe it to be the first of its kind, although I haven't researched enough to verify it. A company like this, especially being a local company, is invaluable to the community. It has the potential to provide numerous jobs and be a real asset to the community, keeping its residents safe and their families comfortable knowing that there is someone there to keep an eye on them.
Check out the website and pass it along to anyone you know who might have this need. It's a great service to have in order to help you manage your daily schedule and have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are being looked after.
If you've been through Conshohocken lately you may or may not have noticed the new cafe in town. Opened about 3 months ago, it was born out of a relationship formed by two friends who found each other playing poker, of all things.
Mike Orchewski (I know this spelling is murdered, sorry Mike!), owned On a Roll, which was literally located next to the building where the Cafe now resides at 521 Fayette St. and Tim Mulvey, an energy drink promotional manager and sales exec came up with the idea when the new location opened up.
"We realized that there were no locally owned cafe's in downtown Conshohocken to service all of the businesses that reside in the area. With the Conshy towers a walking distance away, and Conshohocken attracting a younger crowd for shopping and just hanging out on the weekends, the idea seemed to have some legs.", said Tim.
The Cafe is elegantly casual and provides a very calming and friendly atmosphere to enjoy breakfast or lunch, or even just a cup of coffee in the morning by yourself or with friends.
Bucks County Coffee supplies the coffee and the Cafe is the only retail place in the area to do so once again. The menu also provides a ton of comfort foods as well as some very unique recipes for soups, sandwiches, and other dishes that may be considered eclectic but are fantastic and a welcome change to just grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken fingers.
Friends pitched in to help get the place up and running with construction, marketing and other start up essentials. It truly is a local business and if you stop into Conshy, you'll be missing out if you don't hit this place up for a bite to eat or even just a cup of coffee while resting your feet.
You can become a fan of the Cafe on Facebook by clicking here.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
So let's look at our options to use technology and try to gain a better understanding of what each one entails.
Website: Ten years ago, everyone wanted a website. Fancy ones as well. The Website was your portal for the outside world. You could communicate anything you wanted and reach as many people as possible. As long as they visited your site. The reality was, and still is today, that getting visitors is expensive, time consuming, and a full time job if you want to do it right. Websites are relatively cheap, if you're looking to just throw a page or three up there and manage it yourself. To do it right, or at least in line with competitors, you're looking at $3000 minimum. Graphic art work, HTML, Code, URL registrations, hosting, and a plethora of other things all add to this cost.
Email database: To build a database of customers in a relatively small time frame is paramount to getting your kids to eat their peas. It's frustrating, time consuming, and expensive. Unless you know what you're doing. Even then, it becomes at least two of the aforementioned pain points. A local business can use tactics to make this easier, such as asking for an email address at the point of purchase. But you can never really validate if you're getting good info until you send out the first email.
Social networking: In contrast to my statement above regarding websites, today, everyone wants a Facebook page. That statement holds a lot of merit as well. Social networking has gotten so mainstream that even the media uses it to provide coverage. How many people get their news from Facebook? You'd be surprised. I remember taking a nap after the Eagles were down 24-3 at the half versus the Giants. When I woke up at 6pm, I asked someone what the final of the game was. "I don't know but I think they won. GO Eagles and stuff like that is all over Facebook". So the message, or news, was relayed to me via info gotten off of Facebook, not ESPN. Facebook isn't the only form of social networking. Twitter and Foursquare are also valuable tools that allow you to communicate with potential customers as well.
Learning how to use these tools is imperative. Traditional advertising, such as print, TV, and radio have their place in delivering your message, but social networking is proving to be just as potent. If not more. Some take the thought process a little further... Why pay for traditional advertising if I can get the same results via a free social media site? Some just say, why not throw the book at everyone. Utilize every single tactic available to us that fits within our budget.
How I went about this was very simple. How much do I want/ have to spend on marketing? Once I knew that number... what tactics are available... one I had that list... Sort the list out from highest cost to lowest cost. Then another sort of time commitments on each tactic. From there you just keep asking yourself questions to determine what is the best fit.
The reality is, in order to be successful, you have to utilize something. Your competitors are using it. Your potential customers are finding their products and services via these outlets. So how do you go about it? You already own a business, or are in the process of starting one up. To have gotten this far, you already have the skill sets to figure this out. Planning out your strategy isn't going to be easy. You will ask questions. You will research and find answers. You may even seek help from professionals. What is the cost of doing so? And what benefit are you getting by approving those expenditures?
Case studies on this topic are abundant. Look at newer businesses in the area. They utilize Social media before they are even open, and have basically forgone websites, because, well.... Why bother? I'll reach more people via social media in a much shorter time frame than any website would be able to accomplish. So why spend the money. They're not ignoring the need for a website. They're just recognizing that the cost of the website is better put off down the road until they start realizing some revenue.
There are tons of articles on this as well as agencies and firms that can help you figure all of this out. My suggestions are to learn as much as possible before hiring someone to do the work. Educate yourself on what social media can really do. What type of website do you need? How do you go about gathering emails for an email campaign?
Set yourself on a plan of action. Talk to your friends, customers, family. Find out how they use social media. What are there preferences when shopping or looking for products or services. Social Networking sites can be used as almost a website in and of itself with the use of fan pages, etc...
Do the research, write the plan, and follow the plan. You'll find your business doing better for it.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
It's all about promise! This is why New Years Resolutions are so popular. It's a starting point. A time that is globally defined as a new start. So let's look at some of the ones I've read....
Spend more time with the family, start a new business, learn more, be more patient, quit something like smoking, soda, candy, or some other bad habit. Get organized, or revisit some old relationships. Of course, another of the most common New Years resolution is to lose weight.
The reality is that most of these resolutions never get off the ground for several reasons. An inability to realize the time, financial, and sometimes, emotional commitment puts a damper on most resolutions before they even get off the ground. This all comes from a lack of planning. "Let's lose weight", is an easy statement to make. The actual task of losing weight gets lost because of all of the work needed to research the way that will fit your schedule and budget puts a damper on it before you even get off the ground! So much for that resolution!
Losing weight means changing your diet, adding exercise, and having the discipline to follow through. Here are a few sites you can check out to help build a better diet...
The next part isn't so easy. Actually, it is, but exercise is a funny thing. Running down the road all by yourself when you haven't attempted to run at all, ever, is boring and demotivating. Trying to build a weight lifting program without help and knowledge is useless. I once read a weight loss story which I thought was the best I ever heard. A father of three was over 300 lbs and did nothing but sit on the couch after getting home from work. One day he decided to do something about it. So he got up off the couch and ran til he couldn't run anymore. He would then walk back to the house. His first run went for two blocks. Everyday he would increase his distance by a little more than the day before. In a year he ran a marathon and had lost over 150lbs.
That is a very simple plan and seems to be achieved very easily. The reality is, most of us don't have to lose 150 lbs., nor would we have the sense of urgency OR the discipline to do so. Another reality is that we humans are social creatures and gyms are plentiful for a reason. We need interaction, so working out in a gym with other people is comforting and even motivating.
But Gyms are hard to find. Well, the right gym is hard to find. Not everyone feels comfortable in a body building gym or a larger type gym where they have to compete against 20 year old Gods and Goddesses. Other gyms are for women only, and some seem like they are more geared to rehabilitating geriatric patients. No offense! :) So where is one to go? Have you researched all your options?
Well, in East Norriton, Jeff and Megan Sweitzer are opening Retro fitness. Expected to open in the next month, Retro Fitness is a new gym offering memberships that should fit everyone budgets!
They make it easy to join with memberships that are almost half of traditional gyms. Their facility in East Norriton is going to be over 16,000 sqft. with everything imaginable. Including, what I think is brilliant, a movie room with treadmills and other cardiovascular machines inside of a huge movie theater which they call the Retro Theater. You can watch the daily movie while running, walking, or stepping. Truly a unique idea. Free weights, nautilus, and personal training classes fill out the offering for their members in order to be as efficient as possible in their obtaining their weight loss goals.
Jeff and Megan weren't looking for a business opportunity. Jeff was a member at a Retro fitness and loved the idea. Week after week memberships kept rising. "We decided to look into the opportunity to open our own franchise with an open mind. We decided we would pursue the idea until we saw a red flag. That red flag never came", said Megan. And here they are today. They have a pre-sale office opened up next to where the gym is going to open and you can pop in for a quick tour, info and even sign up.
The gym, a franchise that started about 5 years ago in New Jersey, is seeing unprecedented growth with over 70 locations already in operation. The benefits are a huge gym atmosphere with a very colorful atmosphere, juice bars, massage and chiropractic area and even child care room for the cost of half of competing gyms.
The energy the owners bring is sure to rub off on their members and the staff is there to help you reach your goals. They're also there to help you reach your goals in a realistic way. I like this gym so much, I joined myself!
If you're serious about losing weight, or getting in shape, do the work you need to before undertaking this most difficult task. Research eating right. Research what type of exercise and what frequency you will need to obtain your goals. Research how to go about defining your goals. See a doctor to be sure of what kind of program you should be pursuing, and look into this location as a solution for your gym. Head over to their pre-sales office where Megan will be more than happy to show you the benefits of Retro fitness and how it can fit into your lifestyle.