In this series, ActionCOACH Mary Ann Hauser (MAH) and team virtually sit down with business owners to learn how they are working through COVID-19. Check out their inspiring stories for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic as well as ideas on how to avoid making common mistakes. And be sure to look at special offers from these businesses – we can all use a little extra help right now!
BKN: Coach Beverly Kiser-Nutt
MP/CH: McFall Pearce/Cody Hoyt, Mrs Pumpkin's Bakery & Deli Inc
BKN: What do you do, how long have you been in business?
MP/CH: We both were in the Marines, then ended up at WFU Business School where we met and became friends. After working we both worked in the corporate world for a few years, we knew we wanted to go into business together. We share a lot of the same personal values, we have a lot in common, and we both wanted to be entrepreneurs. We did a lot of research and found out about the owners of Mrs. Pumpkin’s being ready to retire. They started the business in 1985 and have been very successful, starting in their basement to have a retail store with catering, wholesale and fundraising.
BKN: Who is your best customer?
MP/CH: Our best customer varies from each area, in catering it bounces around a lot, but the medical community is a big customer. In retail, we offer ready to eat and cook food, take home meals with a weekly special for a family of four for $22 – would be families, couples. In the wholesale area, we were in a few grocery stores. As for fundraising, we work with churches, schools, non profits, anyone wanting to raise funds for an organization or event.
BKN: Biggest impact of Covid 19?
MP/CH: Some areas have grown a lot, others almost nonexistent. Requests for Wedding Cakes has really gone down due to covid and the level of uncertainty. Pre-packaged meals have grown and excelled. Fund raising has been surprisingly successful with room for growth. Catering has been down, but steady.
BKN: 1 or 2 actions you've taken because of Pandemic?
MP/CH: We created a turnkey process for fundraising with a trailer, freezers, delivery for orders to be picked up at fundraising location. Retail doubled, so we added staffing. We expanded in Lowe’s Foods Stores from 5 to 16, and are positioned for continued growth. We offered a contactless pick up of orders. Use ppe. Clean everything.
BKN: How are they working?
MP/CH: We are pleased to have increased our wholesale area to be in more of the Lowe’s Food Stores – that has been very successful for our business. The cleaning is working. We keep our customers and our staff safe using ppe.
BKN: Biggest learning since you've been a business owner?
MP/CH: Be able to adapt to change and be flexible. Every day is a new day. The buck stops with the owners. As for us, the biggest learning in buying an already successful business, but want to do things differently, we learned to respect the ones who have been there a long time and know what works best. We are finding a good balance between things that need to remain the same, and things that can be improved. We have learned to ask a lot of questions and value other people’s experience.
BKN: Any offers to include in the newsletter?
MP/CH: Everyday Special for $22 feeds four. Entrée, salad, side, bread and tea. Menus online: http://www.mrspumpkins.com
BKN: What is most inspiring to you today?
MP/CH: Hearing people’s stories. Everyone has a unique story. Our customers inspire us. Our employees inspire us.
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