Christmas Shipping Alert

Stockton Graham & Co. will be closed on Monday, December 26th. FedEx will not pick up or deliver on the 26th, too. We encourage all customers to order early and stock up as FedEx’s normal shipping transit times are not guaranteed during this time of year due to tremendous increases in their overall package volume.

All orders received after noon on Friday, December 23th will not ship until Tuesday, December 27th. We resume normal business hours on Tuesday the 27th.

FOR LOCAL CUSTOMERS: All orders must be picked up by noon on Friday, December 23rd.

If you have any questions, please contact us at (800) 835-5943.

All of us at Stockton Graham & Co. wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.


Tips for Retail Success This Holiday Season and Throughout the year!

Last year, I was fortunate to attend the 2010 Coffee Fest in Seattle, WA. Aside from having a fantastic time walking the showroom floor, I was also able to sit in on some educational lectures presented by professionals in the coffee industry. One of the guest speakers I was able to hear from was Bruce Milletto, President of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup and former retail shop owner. This lecture in particular focused on Milletto’s list of 12 essentials when it comes to running a successful coffee shop in this day in age. I found this discussion extremely interesting and would imagine that his recommendations would provide valuable insight to our customers while preparing for the most popular retail season of the year!

1. The first and one of the most important points he discussed was proper business planning. Bruce said that this is key in any business and especially in the coffee industry. Milletto stressed the importance of understanding where the industry has come from, where it is heading, planning and analyzing your financial potential carefully and setting both short and long-term goals.

2. The second point he covered was understanding coffee itself. Those who just jump into the industry prematurely can get into trouble fast! As an owner, Bruce explained it is essential that you understand the nuances of coffee from seed to cup, including origins, growing practices, certification, roasting and proper preparation.

3. The third essential is location. As an owner, it is important to determine a location that will bring in foot traffic, provide you with the work space that you need, and is easy to find. Bruce also mentioned how important it is to make sure the lease you sign is a good one, because signing the wrong lease can be catastrophic to your business.

4. The next topic Bruce pointed out was a strong ergonomic design. It is important that your design works for both you and your customer’s needs. You don’t want it too small that your baristas are running into each other, but you still want to allow your customers to feel cozy, and not lost in cafeteria-sized café.

5. The fifth essential is creating a unique and appealing ambiance. From your menu to your lighting, it is important that you set yourself apart from the chains. Create an atmosphere to attract the client you want to attract.

6. The sixth essential is merchandising and presentation. What else can you sell to help your bottom line? Mints, T-shirts and mugs are just a few ideas to help boost your sales and diversify your product list.

7. The seventh essential on Bruce’s list is your menu. You should select your items and recipes carefully, and keep in mind what your competitors are serving. It is also important to display your items, whether it’s on pictures on the menu, or on display on the front counter. Show your customers what you serve!

8. Next on the list is hiring the right employees. This may be one of the most important essentials on the list. When you hire, consider appearance, work ethic, maturity and attitude. Do they have a strong understanding for coffee, and can they teach your customers? According to Bruce, this is the biggest mistake that operations make!

9. The ninth on the list is customer service. You as an owner need to lead and teach your employees by example. Get behind the bar and show them how to properly serve a customer, from the greeting, to the money exchange. Always focus on the customer’s needs first and foremost!

10. The tenth essential is managing your business. This may seem obvious; however, it is up to you as an owner to see that quality service is produced. Stay on top of your baristas, manage waste and watch for theft. Make sure that your employees are meeting your expectations throughout the shop.

11. Next on the list of essentials is your marketing. Nowadays it is absolutely imperative to have your own website, Facebook, twitter, etc. Create promotions that work in your specific situation. POS is also a great way to advertise your product, and it should be used to its fullest potential.

12. Last but not least, the twelfth essential on the list is operational systems, and budget and cost controls. Create systems for both employees and management, including a manual to read and sign upon employment. This is a positive way to learn and understand company policies and procedures. As and owner, know your cost of goods and keep an eye on all operating expenses.

Bruce is confident that if you are on top of every area, you will succeed. He reminded us that people will not stop drinking coffee, or having a need for a third place (hopefully YOUR coffee shop), so stay positive! It is more important now than ever to operate smart and plan accordingly. Hopefully Bruce’s list of 12 business essentials will provide you with some helpful tips as you continue to strive forward in this fast growing and thrilling industry.

Matt Hogan
Stockton Graham & Co.

Quick and Easy Black Friday Strategies for Your Cafe

With the biggest shopping day of the year approaching, follow these tips to market your business:

-Nearby shopping center opening up very early or very late? Pass out menus and coupons for customers to stop in after they finish shopping.

-Offer a gift wrapping service on Friday (“FREE with a purchase of $10.00 & up!”).

-Shopping puts people in the holiday spirit. Push your retail seasonal flavored coffees and blends, along with Gingerbread Lattes, Peppermint Mochas and Cocoas, etc.

-Always have free samples available of your holiday blends and specialty beverages.

-Coffee makes a great gift, especially for co-workers, church friends, business associates, etc. Nobody should walk out the door without being offered to purchase a bag of retail coffee.

-Pipe in the Christmas music over the loud speakers. It might grate on the nerves of your staff for a month, but psychologically, it helps sell.

-If you are located in a shopping center, have a hot cocoa stand outside of your building to help pull people in.

-The more whipped cream and chocolate chips to garnish, the better. The more appealing the drink looks to people standing in line, the better your chance to turn a $2.00 drip coffee sale into a $4.50 flavored latte sale.

-Place a giving tree that is peppered with your coupons, along with small gift items too.

-Become a designated drop point for a children’s charity looking for toys, clothes, and coats.

Rely on your social media channels to promote these items and engage customers before, during and after Black Friday.

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.

Help Your Business By Giving Back to the Community

The holiday season is the most profitable time of the year for many cafes, and it is very easy to become preoccupied with profit, sales, shipping schedules, inventory and business in general. Of course, these matters require a good deal of attention, but it is also important to remember why we celebrate. As a business owner, you have an ability to help both the community and your business. Implementing a donation jar or donating proceeds from sales is a good start, but it doesn’t take a lot of time or energy to go the extra mile. Many businesses place a giving tree in their shops which allow customers to adopt a child or family. Some cafes have found that customers, when prompted, will donate a dollar upon purchasing their latte. In previous years, we’ve suggested putting coupons for free drinks on your giving tree, too. Other customers have become a donation drop-off point for coats, toys, canned goods, etc. Bring an unwrapped toy and get a BOGO coupon? Whatever works.

No matter what you choose to do, make sure that the cause does some real good. Investigate, and find out who your charity helps. Go with a local charity to help strengthen your businesses’ ties to the area around you. Evaluate your schedule and pick a day that doesn’t receive a lot of business. Open your store for the morning rush and close early to go work on a “Habitat for Humanity” house or to volunteer in a soup kitchen. You can make this a team-building event and even try to get customers involved. If you include your employees in the endeavor, you will find that the time spent away from the cafe will enhance the relationship between your staff members. Not only will you help your community, but the atmosphere and teamwork in your shop will improve dramatically.

It is easy to get bogged down when things get busy, but offering a lending hand to the community is mutually beneficial to both your business and the community around you.

Reid Jackson
Stockton Graham & Co.


Hot Holiday Flavor Trends for 2010

Ever wonder where that weird new featured flavor in a bag of chips come from?

A recent article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek profiled Kevan Vetter, the executive chef from McCormick & Co. Every year since 2000, Vetter has published his Flavor Forecast which has accurately predicted culinary popularity increases for chipotle and small plate meals, just to name a few.

Here are Vetter’s flavor pairings from his 2010 seasonal forecast from BusinessWeek:

A lot of good stuff for a specialty beverage retailer, right? Chances are caramel, almond, cinnamon, coconut, pumpkin and citrus syrups and/or sauces are already in your cafe. If they aren’t, we have them available in Monin, Torani and DaVinci Gourmet. You might also be able to get your hands on some bacon syrup from Torani and a pear from Monin.

Play around with what we have to offer – you never know when you might have another hit on your hands! Also, if you need an updated listing of flavors, give us a call and we’ll send you a new copy or additional recipe ideas.

Use the recipes below as a guide and be sure you let your customers know that the drink represents a combination of hot new flavor trends – you have to make them want it!

Coconut Cream Pumpkin Pie Latte
3 pumps of Torani Coconut syrup
3 pumps of Monin Pumpkin Spice syrup
2 oz. SGC’s Espresso Milano
12 oz. milk

Creamy Almond Caramello
3 pumps of DaVinci Almond syrup
4 pumps of DaVinci Caramel sauce
2 oz. SGC’s Seda Dulce Espresso
12 oz. milk

Combine espresso and syrup (or sauce) in 16 oz. cup. Add steamed milk and serve. Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles.

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.

Our bestselling holiday coffee favorites (with a NEW edition)

At Stockton Graham, we have always had a wide variety of seasonal flavored coffees designed to appeal to even the most discriminating of guests. Over our 15 years in the business, we’ve seen flavor trends evolve, change, shift and move.  Our 2009 Holiday Flavored Coffee list is back and better than ever, refined and polished over the course of previous seasons.

We’re excited to introduce a new selection this year: Colonial Christmas!

Far from the frost-covered windows and settled ‘round a roaring fire, is where you might find a simmering pot of fresh mulled cider. In early American history during the colonial period, cider was often the main beverage of choice, consumed in lieu of water and for the warmth its spirits provided. Colonial Christmas coffee succeeds in accomplishing both of those reasons for drinking, while peppering the palate with a unique flavor combination of harvest ripe apples, sprinkled in a mélange of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Our holiday themed blends are always popular, too. If you haven’t tried our Winter’s Comfort, you are in for a treat! It continues to be my personal favorite SGC blend year after year. In fact, it was previously only offered seasonally until, after numerous customer requests, we made it a permanent offering.

All our holiday flavored coffees are available in 5 lb bulk, or 12 oz retail bags. Give us a call at 800.835.5943 and add five pounds to your order today! We can assist you with tips on how to ramp up your retail coffee sales.

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.

Candy Cane Delight blended recipe from Caffe D'Amore

Jill from Caffe D’Amore blended this recipe yesterday at Stockton Graham’s  & CDA’s “Blending Bigger Profits” show in Raleigh yesterday. Trust me, this drink WILL sell. It’s delicious and cost-effective.

Candy Cane Delight – 16 oz  serving

1 scoop of Barista Vanilla Bean, or Vanilla Freeze®
3 1/2 fl oz milk
1 ½ fl oz Monin Peppermint syrup
1-2 Tbsp crushed peppermint candy
16 oz of ice

Pour in Vanilla Freeze®, milk, syrup, and ice into blender.  Blend 30 seconds or until smooth. Pulse in crushed peppermint candies.

Caffe D’Amore will create custom point-of-sale using your business logo. This service is FREE for CDA customers. Make sure you take advantage of this generous option.

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.