The LDP Business Alliance is a business advocacy and advisory group under the Loveland Downtown Partnership. One of the benefits of joining this group is their monthly breakfast held on the last Friday of the month. If you want to get up to speed on the happenings of downtown Loveland, the LDP is the place to be. The LDP Business Alliance provides opportunities to make strong community connections with local business owners and community partners.
The breakfast event on September 29th had an educational feature. A panel of four local retailers offered their insight on Retail Strategies for a Successful Holiday Season.
I attended the breakfast and was excited to see the quality panelists. David Hudson, owner of ReCycled Cycles was the first person on the panel to speak. David is a top retailer in his industry and is also a business consultant at both the Larimer SBDC and the Loveland Business Development Center (LBDC). If a Loveland business owner can’t get to the LBDC to meet with David, he will meet with them at the LDP office on Cleveland Avenue or at their place of business.
Bryan Jones, owner of Henry’s Pub and the Sports Station, was the second panelist to speak. Henry’s will be celebrating their 13th year in business on October 16, 2017. I totally agree with Bryan’s philosophy of not offering discounts at his restaurant, but rather focusing on the quality of the food and beverages. Discounts work for some businesses, but for restaurants, not so much. Bryan does contribute Henry’s gift cards for local non-profit events. Building strong community relationships has had a positive impact on his customer loyalty.
I could write volumes about Robbie Emge, owner of Garment Gal and the third panelist. Robbie has two store locations and has been in business for nine years. I attend many community events and it is rare that I don’t see Robbie at an event. Sometimes she is an attendee and sometimes she has her clothing/store items set up at a booth. That is at the core of Robbie’s success – community involvement. Robbie is a master at holding women’s events where you get to sip wine and shop in a relaxed atmosphere. I find the most unique clothing at Garment Gal. Discounting does work for Robbie and I am glad it does, since I am a customer. I am not an online shopper, so I hope that Robbie will continue to be in business for years to come.
The fourth panelist, co-founder Joshua Tabin of Wild Zora Foods, shared stories of what has worked and what hasn’t worked in developing his business. Wild Zora Foods is a family-run business located on 4th Street in Loveland. Zora, Josh’s wife, was inspired to make shelf-stable, high-protein, snack bars. Getting Wild Zora snack bars into hundreds of retail markets should have been exactly what the business needed to succeed. What has been a more profitable road to success has been the online sales of Wild Zora snack bars. Discounting has also works for this business, with strategic planning of discounts at certain times of the year.
Facilitator for the event was Kathy Stewart. Kathy Stewart provides support to the Loveland Chamber of Commerce and the LBDC. Kathy teaches the LBDC workshops: “So You Want to Start a Business” and “Strategic and Business Planning.” She is also a business consultant at the LBDC and offers to meet clients at the LDP or the client site. The LBDC is aligned with the Larimer SBDC program and both programs provide free business consulting services and low cost classes.