COVID Creativity - It's All Good in the Kitchen
Business Name: It's All Good in the Kitchen
Client Name: Jacky Levine and Ron Geoffroy Sr.
Location: Salem, NH
SBDC Advisor: Julie Glosner
It all started with a friend and a gluten-free protein bar.
In 2016, Jacky Levine and Ron Geoffroy, Sr. started It’s All Good in the Kitchen, a gluten-free bakery from their home in Auburn, NH. Jacky, a hairdresser by trade, loved to cook and her friends loved to eat her kitchen creations. So, when a friend requested that gluten-free treat, Jacky whipped one up, the friend loved it, and It’s All Good in the Kitchen was born.
This was new territory for Jacky, the career hairdresser with no formal culinary training, and Ron, who was already enjoying retirement. Nonetheless, the bakery gained momentum quickly and they opened their retail location In December 2017 just before Christmas.
Things were going well, but as any small business can attest, there is always a need to increase your customer base. So, Ron turned his attention to the NH SBDC to get advice on better ways to market. He attended SBDC webinars and joined an “Ask an Advisor” online session. That’s when Ron first had the opportunity to connect with NH SBDC Merrimack Valley Regional Director Julie Glosner.
“Julie introduced us to a group of UNH students who presented us with some great ideas to market ourselves,” shares Ron. Ron and Jacky worked with UNH Paul College students in the Business in Practice (BiP) program. Students worked with them both to have real-world experience and to make a difference for the business.
Since then, Julie has become a “go-to” for advice and guidance as Ron and Jacky work on growing their business.
Ron comments, “Julie has been great to understand our business and to provide executable ways for us to increase our customer base and check our profit ratios.”
Over the last few years, It’s All Good in the Kitchen has increased its revenue, even during the pandemic.
“We experienced our first closure in March 2020 and at first, it was like, “Okay…now what?” says Ron.
Food was considered an essential business, so It’s All Good in the Kitchen did not have to close entirely, but they did have to adapt. They closed the bakery to walk-in business and instead shifted to a reduced menu with call-ahead orders for curbside pickup.
“By reducing our menu, we were able to change the menu weekly to attract customers consistently,” says Ron.
Thankfully, with this model, COVID did not have a negative impact on the bakery. Rather, their revenue went up.
Ron explains, “A lot of that had to do with Julie who helped us through the pandemic. She helped us look at our competitors and suggested that we increase our prices, so although the number of transactions went down, our revenue went up. After a few months, we actually began to exceed the previous year’s revenue.”
Experiencing great success with their new approach, It’s All Good in the Kitchen continues its amended weekly menu today. Their customers like it, and as an added bonus, changing the menu weekly also increases traffic to their website and Facebook page as folks check in to find out the latest menu.
One of the many benefits of working with an SBDC business advisor is that the advisor can bring in another SBDC team member to co-advise on a specific topic; so, when Ron and Jacky were looking to improve their website and increase their Facebook and blog posts, Julie brought in fellow business advisor, Rita Toth.
With a simple Zoom meeting, Rita and Julie were able to work with Ron and Jacky to identify the changes they needed to make on their website. What’s more, Rita dove right in and “really helped put more pizzazz into it,” says Ron.
That “pizzazz” meant a more appealing, more user-friendly website for It’s All Good in the Kitchen customers, including the addition of online ordering, which became available at the end of February/early March.
What does this all mean in the long-term for Ron and Jacky?
As Ron puts it, “We didn’t have a good enough strategy before, and the strategy they (Julie & Rita) helped us create has given us the ability to increase our customer base, and therefore our sales.”
So, it seems that with the help of Julie, Rita, and the SBDC, it’s all good at It’s All Good in the Kitchen.
Ron’s advice to other business owners is, “If you’re looking for advice to start, run or increase your business, there is no better, more cost-effective way than the SBDC. The advice you take and utilize will help and when the advice is free, how can you go wrong?”
This client story is part of NH SBDC's ongoing collection of COVID Creativity stories about businesses surviving and thriving during COVID-19.