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Making the Outer Sunset a destination: #SFSBW2015 Interview with Andytown Coffee Roasters

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Lauren Crabbe, Owner/Founder, Andytown Coffee Roasters.

Tell us about your business in one sentence.

Andytown Coffee Roasters was founded to bring specialty coffee roasting to the Outer Sunset in San Francisco. Our goal is to make specialty coffee a welcoming, comfortable and extraordinary experience.Andytown Coffee

San Francisco is changing, and the small business customer base is changing. What changes are you seeing in your customer base? 

We have only been open for one year, but we have seen our customer base grow from folks who work and live in our neighborhood to people who seek out the Outer Sunset as a destination. As someone who has lived in the Avenues for a long time, it’s exciting to see people who used to dismiss the Sunset as a boring no-mans-land embrace it as a thriving neighborhood unique to San Francisco.

What specific business strategies have you implemented to build loyalty and enhance your ability to serve the newer generation of customers?

While we do not offer any stamp cards or traditional customer loyalty programs, we will often promote a special treat on our social media platforms. For example, on Chinese New Year, we gave away free drink tokens to folks who wished us “Happy New Year” in a language other than English. We only promoted it on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and we had dozens of people come in to claim their drink and share it with their friends. Here’s what it looked like.

What marketing tactics and strategies have been most successful for your business in this new environment?

We are extremely active on social media and are always willing to give time to independent bloggers who want to write about us. There are so many different channels for people to learn about new businesses these days, and it’s important to allow everyone equal access to you–not just folks with an official media credential. You never know if that curious blogger asking you a thousand questions has 5 followers, or 5 million!

What is the one lesson you would like to share with other small business owners—especially those who are struggling to change the way they do business in the current climate?

Own your social media channels–even if you do not post on them. If you have a business in San Francisco, social media is part of the promotional game. You can’t just put up a sign or flyer your neighborhood anymore. Claim your usernames on social media so no one else does. If you have the time and technological know-how, use those social media channels like you do your own. Post fun updates, birthday announcements and things related to your shop. Not every post has to be about a product or special offer; sometimes it can just be a fun observation.

What is it about running a small business brings you joy and satisfaction?            

I love seeing people interact with my shop, my product, and the environment I’ve created. We built our space with absolute intention–every inch was planned and every product is made by us in our shop. So when I see people take in the space for the first time and enjoy our product in our shop as it was intended, I get super stoked.

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