4th Quarter Timeline and Seasonal Necessities

Summer has come and gone, and now we’re a matter of weeks away from the start of the fourth quarter. In the coffee industry, these last three months of the year are the busiest, most intense and in just about all cases, the most profitable. The weather starts to drop, students and workers return to their normal routine, and the holiday season is among us. These are just a few reasons why your business volume will be affected tremendously, and if you’re prepared, this quarter will be a successful one.  At Stockton Graham & Co., we’ve created at fourth quarter/seasonal timeline to help you make sure you are on track to wrap up 2012 in a positive manner.

September/October

I. Pumpkin needs to be on your menu. Every year the crave for pumpkin begins earlier and earlier, and by mid-September, pumpkin flavoring is in full swing. Stockton Graham & Co. offers a variety of pumpkin products, in multiple brands, including the following:
– Pumpkin Syrup
– Pumpkin Sauce
– Pumpkin Frappe Powder
– Pumpkin Chai Powder
– Pumpkin Flavored Coffee

II. Chai is back in season! It may have been a slow mover throughout the spring and summer, but if you have not seen it already, the high demand for chai is just around the corner. Stockton Graham & Co. offers chai in both powder and liquid concentrate forms, with flavors ranging from the ever-so-popular spiced chai and vanilla chai, to seasonal flavors such as pumpkin chai and gingerbread chai.

III. Apple Cider is always a hit this time of the year. It can be served cold, right from the refrigerated container, or you can add hot water or steamed milk and serve it as a hot drink. We do not stock an apple cider, simply because it is more cost effective for you to swing by your local grocery store and grab it there. However, if you are having trouble finding some, let us know and we’ll be happy to special order some for you!

November

I. Keep it coming! Once October ends, it does not mean that its popular beverages do. Pumpkin inspired drinks, chai and cider all will continue to sell throughout November!

II. Seasonal Coffees are available at Stockton Graham & Co.! Our Autumn Harvest Blend and Thanksgiving Blend are always customer favorites this time of the year. As for flavored coffee, Apple Cobbler, Bourbon Pecan Pie and Toasted Almond are our most popular, year after year! Click here to see our list of seasonal blends and click here to see the great seasonal flavored coffee.

III. Seasonal syrups are abundant this time of the year! As mentioned earlier, the pumpkin flavoring will continue to sell, though other flavors such as maple spice, brown sugar cinnamon, spice berry and Monin’s pie series including pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie and blueberry pie (available on special order) are big time hits as well!

IV. Smoothies, believe it or not, will continue to sell even as the weather gets about as cold as the smoothie itself! And what better way to keep your smoothie sales up than promoting fall flavored smoothies? Dr. Smoothie offers a cherry-cranberry smoothie, as well as a northwest apple smoothie, both of which are very popular in the fourth quarter. Torani now offers a green apple smoothie, which goes great with a little caramel sauce to give it that caramel apple flavor that everyone loves!

December

I. Peppermint needs to be on your menu by now. This flavor will be as popular as pumpkin was in the earlier months of the quarter and will even continue to sell in January. Just like pumpkin, we will have a variety of peppermint products including:
– Peppermint Syrup
– Peppermint Mocha Frappe Powder
– Peppermint Flavored Coffee

II. Gingerbread is another extremely popular flavor this time of the year. Stockton Graham & Co. has you covered in this flavor department as well, including products such as:
– Gingerbread Syrup
– Gingerbread Chai
– Gingerbread Flavored Coffee

III. Retail Coffee is a must this time of the year. Due to the frigid weather, customers are more willing to buy your whole bean coffee, so they brew a cup right at home and don’t have to venture out into the cold in order to grab their favorite cup of coffee. Retail coffee also makes fantastic holiday gifts, and is also commonly used as stocking stuffers and in gift baskets. Stockton Graham & Co. has you covered in all of your holiday coffee favorites. Our most popular holiday blends include Winter’s Comfort and ‘Tis the Season, and when it comes to flavors, Winter Wonderland, Gingerbread Spice and Christmas Sugar Cookie are the front runners. Not only are we happy to prepackage these coffees in 12 or 16 ounce bags for you, but we can also add custom labels to each bag!

This is an exciting time to be a café owner, and whether this is your first fourth quarter experience or you are a veteran ready to take on the season yet again, the most important thing is that you are well prepared. It may seem early, but you will be surprised how fast the seasonal sales will sneak up on you. For help planning your fourth quarter agenda, give us a call today at 800.835.5943. As long as you stay ahead of the game and are ready for the season, success will naturally come your way, because after all, it is the most wonderful time of the year!

Featured Seasonal Coffees for the 1st Quarter of 2012

Stockton Graham & Co. is excited to announce that our featured coffees for the First Quarter of 2012 are Bananas Foster and Mocha Java Blend, two of our most popular coffees at the beginning of the year. These coffees are part of our seasonal program, which includes marketing and point-of-sale advertising materials.

What better way to celebrate the Mardi Gras season than with an original New Orleans creation. Bananas, ice cream, brown sugar & rum were first combined in a flambé at Brennan’s restaurant in New Orleans, Louisana – 1951. Take just one sip of Bananas Foster coffee, and your taste buds will whisk you straight to the heart of the Big Easy.

Mocha Java is one of the oldest coffee blends in the world, first created by Dutch merchants trading between Africa and Indonesia in the 17th century. Our version incorporates traditional Ethiopian and Sumatra varietals for the most desirable flavor traits. Mocha Java features a berry-like aroma, a silky body and a rich full mouth feel that coffee lovers expect from traditional African and Indonesian origins.

POP Materials:
Upon ordering these holiday specials, you will have access to plenty of marketing support materials, which includes counter cards, shelf talkers and attractive retail packaging specifically developed for the 2011 holiday season. If you want your customers to get excited about the season, this is certainly the way to do it without spending any extra money. What do you have to lose?

Tips for Selling:
• Have fun with this promotion and be sure to suggestively sell it
• Offer sales incentives to staff, i.e., movie passes or mall gift cards
• Consider offering a free ¼ lb. with the purchase of other retail coffee
• Offer $1 off for the first few weeks of the feature
• Make sure to incorporate the features in your brewed coffee rotation
• Brew and taste each feature to educate your staff
• Be prepared to give a description of the coffee when customers ask
• Consider putting out an airpot with sample cups on busy mornings

The Featured Coffees for the Spring Season will be _______________________________________________________
More information is coming soon!

Reid Jackson
Stockton Graham & Co.

Three Critical Retail Coffee Trends Through 2011 & Forecasting for 4th Quarter

The Specialty Coffee Association of America recently released their Sector Report which outlines trends within the coffee house and cafe industry through the second quarter of this year. I’ve spent some time looking over the data and here’s what I think you, as an independent retailer, should pay attention to:

1) Overall coffee house sales dipped in the second quarter, but don’t panic. The first quarter was incredibly strong in terms of growth rate and that should bode well for fourth quarter. An incredibly hot spring and summer, coupled with sticker shock over commodity increases, probably kept some fringe consumers away. Many investors tend to be bullish on commodities and some see signs of improvement in that area.

2) Total sales of specialty coffee whole bean or ground at the retail level is trending up. In the last decade, retail coffee sales have increased by over five billion dollars. If a regular customer can’t come in twice a day any more, they can afford to come in once a week to brew your freshly roasted specialty coffee that they can’t get anywhere else.

The opportunity to hit a home run in 4Q is there, and retail coffee has huge potential, but now is the time to begin to execute a plan of action. Be sure to heavily market your seasonal blends and flavored coffees. This year, Stockton Graham & Co. has created some fantastic (and FREE with purchase) point-of-sale material that will help your business sell more coffee. Check out what’s available HERE and contact your customer care associate for additional information.

3) Customers continue to rank quality as the most important aspect of the overall cafe experience, postioned over price, WiFi, variety, etc. This one is critical and extremely encouraging because you promote a high-end experience. Don’t assume the customer will know your product is top notch – remind them! Your employees should be intimately familiar with each and every coffee served. All the background information on the growing region, farm and roasting notes are available in our online library. Mark the page as a favorite and have print outs of our single-origin PDFs available behind the bar.

Stockton Graham & Co. has the expertise to help guide you through the remainder of 2011 and beyond. Whether this is your first year in business or your 21st, our team is available to you. Contact us today!

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.

Dear Joe,

What packing options do you have for retail coffee?

Thank you,

Robert

Hello Robert,

By now, dear readers, I’m sure you have read more than your fair share of articles imploring you to really push retail coffee sales. I promise I won’t beat you over the head with that message again. If you aren’t doing it, you should be, and if you are, you could do more.

We received a few questions this week from customers wanting to know the packaging options for the various retail coffee items we offer.

The most popular is the 12 oz. black bag. We offer these whole bean or ground, and they come in 12 count cases. We also add our retail coffee labels to the bags, or you can choose to use your own. Whatever works best for you; please be sure to specify at the time of order.  These retail bags appeal to your customers as instant up sells right in front of the cash register. Look to donate a portion of the proceeds to a local charity for every bag sold this season to really drive sales and help the community.

We also offer 2.0 and 3.5 oz. fractional packs of coffee in foil or a small bags with gussets. These are available ground only and make perfect additions to small gift baskets and reselling coffee to local offices and churches. They are designed to brew small batches of coffee, and the 2.0 oz. pack is ideal for a no-fuss brew at home.

It is important to keep in mind that all retail coffee orders require a 2-3 day lead time. This is especially true with the  fractional packs as the fresh ground coffee must be allowed to expel the gases that are emitted after grinding before we can seal and ship the case.

Call 800.835.5943 to get your retail coffee orders in today! Don’t let your customers drink a competitor’s coffee at home over the holidays!

Yours in coffee,

Josephius A. Graham
Stockton Graham & Co.

2009 Holiday Sales Expected to be Flat, Except…

I read a blog post on “Neilsen Wire” that commented on consumer surveys about the 2009 holiday shopping trends, which are expected to be flat.

While this does not sound like good news for retailers, the surveys showed an increased attention to “essential gift giving” and entertaining at home.  This brought a sense of relief to me as coffee is a great, affordable gift for nearly anyone who enjoys specialty beverages or entertaining in their homes.

Stockton Graham & Co. has made it even easier for all our customers to have a retail coffee program in their store, from bulk bins, jars or shelves with prepackaged beans.  We are offering our traditional holiday favorites such as “Tis the Season“,  “Jingle Java“, “Thanksgiving Blend“, and “Burning the Midnight Oil“, along with newer introductions such as our Organic French Roast and more (soon to be announced). For a listing of seasonal blends, click here.

Our flavored coffees include, “Pumpkin Spice“, “Gingerbread Spice“, “Mocha Nutmeg“, “Yule Nog“, “Winter Wonderland” and more! For a listing of popular holiday flavors, click here.

These, and all of our other coffees, are available in 12 oz. retail packaged bags, whole bean or ground.  Also, we have new 6 count cases to allow for more variety in your selection.

Our sales associates have been busy helping our customers make new selections, offering sales tips and marketing suggestions, etc. to build your sales and to help you bring in more revenue and profits to your store. Call them at 800.835.5943 to finalize your holiday coffee selection today.

Jeff Vojta, Co-Founder & CEO
Stockton Graham & Co.

Easy packaged coffees for the holidays

Did you know that we can produce every one of our whole-bean, craft-roasted coffees in 12-oz packages? Every single-origin varietal, every organic coffee, every natural blend, every flavored coffee, and every decaffeinated derivative thereof—even your custom house blends.

Our 12-oz packaged coffees come in cases of 12 bags each. The bags are black foil and feature color labels, although we will gladly ship unlabeled bags at your request.

These packaged coffees make it easy to offer attractive, convenient gift items to your customers. They make great centerpieces for coffee-themed gift baskets, ideal for corporate gifts. Stock a few bags on your retail fixture or near your point of sale to get your customers’ attention.

These packaged coffees require 1-2 days of lead time, so please place your orders early. We can hold them and ship them with your regular supply orders. Prices for each coffee vary, so please call a Customer Care Associate for details at (800) 835-5943. You may also e-mail us with your questions or contact us through our website.

Jonathan Hamilton, Customer Care
Stockton Graham & Co.