We’ve made it four years. Thanks to many for financial and emotional support. Summary of the last four years:
First year: Improving stamina and patience; learning how to cook; finding customers
Second year: Building discipline; learning how to manage a store; attracting customers
Third year: Developing leadership skills; learning how to create and refine a brand; keeping customers
Fourth year: Establishing courage; learning how to run a business; culling customers
Fifth Year Plans
We’ve finally plugged some money leaks by implementing a POS system and a state-of-the-art payroll system, updating the cash register and bookkeeping system, and switching to an LED lighting system. Next purchase will be a walk in refrigeration unit. That will allow us to reduce labor and driving related costs and free time to pursue other projects. New leaks will probably emerge, especially those related to human resources, and we’re prepared to handle them with new technology that will dramatically increase labor productivity.
No immediate plans for second location. Will need to improve leadership skills and further refine the brand for another store to open. May explore franchising opportunities and that would require simplification of processes. So if anyone is interested…(you will be vetted, failure isn’t an option at this point).
We’re working on opening a mid-scale thrift store (with some couture items) and will see how Alive Juice Bar can leverage such an operation (and vice versa).
Emphasis will be on culling customer base and targeting audience and applicants until the brand identity and message is clear. We’re still dealing with a lot of wrong assumptions about who we are and what we do (we’re not hippies, not lefties). A clear brand will help save time when hiring and improve customer service (by managing customer expectations).
Mission remains the same: offering a counterpoint to prevailing ideas about “proper” nutrition, food, and service. There’ll be continued increased emphasis on challenging what appears as dominant narratives about life and living — “proper” mindsets, attitudes, and life goals, all of which are tied into our core work on “healthy” living.
To develop the creativity necessary to have the businesses run on its own (minimal oversight from Monster). To develop a leadership class capable of making customers reconsider the way they perceive reality and live life. Put simply, to clarify the link between emotional health and physical well being.
There’s a lot of work ahead. Agape.