Open for Business: Naturally Sweet.
What type of business is Naturally Sweet?
“Naturally Sweet is a wholesale distributor of Happy and Healthy Products, Inc. We sell all natural, gluten free, fruit bars, healthy snacks and whole grain flavored popcorn to retailers which include colleges, health food stores, hospitals, fitness centers, family entertainment centers, delis and grocery stores just to name a few.”
How did you get started?
“We started the business in July, 2013. We were looking for an opportunity to run our own business. We decided to investigate franchises since the business models are proven and structured. We used a broker who helped us find the right prospects, coached us on how to do our due diligence and lead us through the process. This particular franchise met our criteria and appealed to us on many different levels.”
What obstacles have you faced in starting a business?
“Can’t say there are too many obstacles but we need to overcome objections from retailers who may not be interested in carrying our products for various reasons: price point, lack of space, not familiar with product or brand, seasonality of the frozen fruit bars. We stress the value….it’s a high quality, wholesome and healthy snack; it’s larger than the other bars on the market. The first ingredient is fruit and once they sample the product – that usually seals the deal. We educate our potential customers on the new revenue stream it may become, the target market and importance of that market and the value of the high level of customer service we provide. To boost their sales we also provide a small branded freezer which also overcomes the objection “I don’t have a freezer”.”
What makes your business different from others of it’s kind?
“We are a very small business that can give a lot of attention to our customer’s needs. That sets us apart from many other distributors and wholesalers. Our products also have the appeal of being healthier which has a wide audience these days. People are more conscious of what they eat. Our Fruitfull frozen fruit bars have no added sugar and just basically contain fruit…it’s the number one ingredient. How can you beat that? They are low calorie and contain either no fat or are low fat and have no preservatives. Parents would rather have their kids snacking on treats that count as a fruit serving, as opposed to sweet snacks with empty calories. Also, we are a one stop shop for vendors and can supply several different types of snacks. We are a turn key package for them!
What advice would you give someone looking to start a business for themselves?
“We’re too new to be handing out advice! But common sense says to do your research, know the demographics of the community you’re serving and make sure the business serves a need. Talk to people in that industry and seek advice from them. Learn from others, and learn about your market as much as you can. Know that the harder you work and the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it!”
Where/how can people get in touch with you?
“People can visit our page on Facebook and like us!- Naturally Sweet. We keep up by posting content on healthy eating and new locations. If you have a place where you think you’d like to buy the product and it’s a good fit, let us know! We will approach the store, and hey if it works, we’ll thank you generously with a basket full of lip smackin’ goodness! We can also be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org as well.
Open for Business: Seafood of Buckingham Valley, Inc
Located in Bucks County, PA, our week long spotlight on local businesses continues today with Buckingham Valley Seafood. Check out what the owner has to say and be sure to visit and support buying fresh and local. Don’t forget to check out our previously spotlighted businesses from earlier this week as well!
WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS?
“Seafood of Buckingham Valley, Inc.”
WHAT TYPE OF BUSINESS IS IT?
A fresh seafood market.”
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
“I started my business in 1992 when I got tired of being a truck driver and always on the road. A friend told me about a crab place where the lady was looking to get out. So I went in and offered her some money to buy her place and she agreed.”
WERE THERE ANY OBSTACLES TO GETTING YOUR BUSINESS STARTED?
“Yes, the main obstacle was that the lady I bought the business from did not have any right to sell it, but that was quickly resolved. Then I needed to learn about fish, because although I have been eating it since the 1970’s I didn’t know much about the fish market or anyone down there.”
WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS BETTER OR DIFFERENT THAN OTHERS OF ITS KIND?
“I believe my market is better and more successful because I personally go to the fish market every morning at 3:30 and hand pick my fish. And since I have been doing it for 22 years now, I am able to get better pricing as I deal a lot with the direct vendors and no middle man.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO GO INTO BUSINESS FOR THEMSELVES?
“If someone were to come and say that they would like to get into the fish or seafood business or even retail of any kind, I would tell them to think long and hard because it is a lot of long, hard hours and sacrificing of your life. You have to be available 24/7, because no one will ever care for your business the way you will.”
DOES YOUR BUSINESS HAVE ANYTHING SPECIAL TO OFFER THIS TIME OF YEAR?
“The holiday’s at our store are a very busy time of year and it is what carries us through the winter months. As for specials: I don’t believe in them since our prices are always the lowest around.”
ARE YOU WILLNG TO OFFER SOMETHING TO PEOPLE WHO VISIT YOU THROUGH OUR SITE?
“Sure. We will offer 5% off of any order that comes from finding us on this site. Just mention the code “One Unified” when you place your order.”
Seafood of Buckingham Valley is located at:
1489 Durham Road
Buckingham, PA 18912
Find them on the web at:
Open for Business: Leneghan’s Crusader Inn
Our week long spotlight on local businesses continues today with Patty Leneghan of Leneghan’s Crusader Inn. All that holiday shopping can be exhausting! You need a place to recover with a bite to eat and a drink! Come check out this local staple. And in case you missed it, see our interviews with our previously highlighted businesses Pat’s Music and Infinity Jewelers.
ARE YOU THE PROPRIETOR OF ALL 3 LOCATIONS?
“No, just this one. My father in law had started the business when he came over from Ireland. He worked at a few bars and saved up enough money and bought his first bar. So he had the boys working for them and then the boys went out on their own and bought Red Lion Rd. and then this place. Then they separated in ’96, me and Tony got this place, Kevin and Maureen got Red Lion rd. And the other brother is out of the business now.”
THAT’S PRETTY COOL TO STILL HAVE A FAMILY BUSINESS, LET ALONE A CHAIN!
“Yeah, we’re still around and he’s (father-in-law) still around!”
WHAT DO YOU THINK KEEPS YOU IN BUSINESS?
“I think we have a lot of loyal customers that have been around for a long time. Some customers that come in here have been here since we opened the doors 20 years ago. I think that really helps. Although the neighborhood is changing, we still have a good group of people that still keep us afloat.”
WHAT OBSTACLES WOULD YOU SAY YOU’VE HAD OVER THE YEARS?
“Just the change in clientele, the neighborhood. We’ve pretty much had a lot of the same employees. Employees that have worked for us for a long time. We don’t go through a lot of them. So, yes, the biggest obstacle is the neighborhood.”
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE THAT WAS LOOKING TO START THE SAME TYPE OF BUSINESS?
“Buy outside of the city of Philadelphia. They’re tough with the taxes. Like, they charge a 10% tax on every drink that’s supposed to go to the school district. Which we know it’s not going there. That’s our profit there, it would be our profit, but now we pay it out. The bar business isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago, even 10 years ago.”
TAXES GOING TO THE SCHOOL DISTRICT? REALLY!? THAT’S WORKED OUT WELL.
“Yeah, that’s what we have fought for a lot of years. We could never get any answers. And then it ended up costing all of us bar owners so much money to keep fighting it, we stopped and just started paying (the tax).”
DO YOU RUN ANY SPECIALS?
“We do run specials at certain times. $2 shots of wild turkey, $1 Jell-O shots. We always have $.80 PBR mugs.
ANY SPECIALS FOR ONE UNIFIED READERS?
“Anyone that mentions One, Unified will get a free drink (good one time only).”
LASTLY, WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE SO LOYAL?
“I think because my employees are very good and because they like me and my husband. They’ve gotten to know us over the years. The customers will even rat on some of the employees. That’s gotta say something. I think we’re like one big family. It’s a family atmosphere. Some people don’t have that at home. It’s kind of nice that you get it here.”
Leneghan’s Crusader Inn is located at:
7412 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19136
Visit them on Facebook at Leneghans Crusader Inn
Open for Business: Pat’s Music
As we continue to showcase small local businesses this week, today we bring to you Bob Demanico and Pat’s Music store in Philadelphia. And if you missed it, check out yesterday’s spotlight on Infinity Jewelers and take advantage of a special offer just for One Unified readers!
WHEN AND HOW DID PAT’S MUSIC GET STARTED?
“It started in 1939. My grandfather started it and it was called Frankford Saxophone Shop at the time. Then in around 1943, they changed it to Pat’s Music since his name was Pat. So this is our 75th year in business.”
SO HOW MANY GENERATIONS HAVE OWNED AND OPERATED PAT’S MUSIC?
“That would be three generations.”
HOW WOULD YOU SAY BUSINESS HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
“I’ve seen a lot of changes in the business and it’s kind of an exciting business because of that. Different configurations of music. Different ways to get music. I’ve seen vinyl to eight tracks to cassettes to CD and now vinyl and CD. A lot of different changes all throughout.”
DO YOU DO MORE BUSINESS THIS TIME OF YEAR MORE THAN OTHERS?
“We’re really a 12 month store. Of course we’ll have that extra push after thanksgiving throughout the holidays, people buying gifts and things like that. We’re kind of a specialty store. I sell to about 1500 DJ’s, since they’re busy throughout the year.”
IS THIS THE FIELD THAT YOU THOUGHT YOU’D GO INTO?
“Yes. It was destined.”
BECAUSE YOU WANTED TO OR HAD TO?
“Because I wanted to.”
SO MUSIC HAS ALWAYS BEEN SOMETHING THAT WAS PART OF YOUR LIFE?
“When I was about 10 years old, I used to go down to the store with my grandfather to help him out. And so, I guess I was destined for it.”
IS THIS THE ORIGINAL LOCATION?
“No, we were down on 4500 Frankford Ave. for about 45-50 years. Until the neighborhood kind of changed a but and we needed to make a move.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOUR BUSINESS DIFFERENT THAN OTHER BUSINESSES OF ITS KIND?
“The product that I sell, I have a lot of proprietary stuff that only I sell. There’s places you can buy CDS and things like that. There’s other stores that sell guitar strings, guitars, things like that. But not so much what I sell. I have a catalog that I carry just for DJ’s, things that they use, whether it’s just for music or equipment. I have a lot of different stuff that nobody else carries.”
DO YOU THINK THAT ADVANCING TECHNOLOGIES, SOCIAL MEDIA, FILE SHARING AND THINGS LIKE THAT, HAVE SOMEWHAT DIMINISHED THE THRIVING INDUSTRY OF THE SMALL MUSIC STORE?
“Like 4 or 5 years ago when file sharing was big, (when people were downloading music) for free, I saw a decline. Not a lot, but a decline. But in the last year, I’ve seen a pick up of business. Now I put stuff on Facebook, like things I get in everyday. So social media helps in that way . I find that with file sharing, somebody that doesn’t wanna buy a cd or whatever, they weren’t my customer anyway. They’re not even a music (store) customer.
YOU MENTIONED FREE LESSONS WITH A GUITAR PACKAGE. DO YOU OFFER THOSE LESSONS HERE?
“We have a music school here too. I have about 500 students all throughout the week. I’m in here two hours after closing every night because there’s just not enough time slots for everyone.”
WHAT DO YOU TEACH?
“Piano, guitar and drums. And I just hired a flute teacher.”
ARE THERE ANY TYPES OF EVENTS OR SPECIALS THAT YOU HAVE AROUND THE HOLIDAYS?
“I’ll put some specials on guitars. What I really like to do is offer a guitar package. What we’ll do is when you buy the package we’ll give maybe two free lessons if you sign up in January. That’s a special I have every Christmas. Outside of that, I just do what I’ve always done. (Specials can be found on the website or on Facebook.)”
Thank you to Bob Domanico of Pat’s Music Center.
Pat’s Music is located at:
7302 Frankford Ave.
(At the corner of Frankford & Cottman Aves. in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia)
Visit them online at
and on Facebook at
Open for Business: Infinity Jewelers
Welcome to the first in a week long series where we introduce you to local businesses and business owners. The holidays are a great time to think globally and act locally with your purchasing power. Today we meet Kevin Ferguson of Infinity Jewelers and Infinity Gifts & Beyond, located in the Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia.
DID YOU START THE BUSINESS ON YOUR OWN?
“Yes we did. We were in business down in Frankford for 10 years before this, so 27 years total. Me and the rest of the staff. Then we all merged together and we came here.”
THE BUILDING NEXT DOOR IS YOURS AS WELL?
“Yes, that’s our gift store. We do all our novelty gifts there.” (Infinity Gifts & Beyond)
HAS THAT BEEN THERE FOR 16 YEARS AS WELL?
“No, that’s been there nine years.”
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE JEWELRY BUSINESS?
“I started at age 15. I was a counter boy. So it worked out well. We slowly progressed and progressed. We worked for a company that knew a lot of the tradesman, people on the back end of it. That’s where we learned everything that we had to learn and we eventually moved here in 1998. And the rest has been history. We like the neighborhood. People are very good to us here. It’s a small store, nothing big. Everybody feels like family in here. We try to remember everyone’s names. That’s really important.”
DID YOU ENCOUNTER ANY OBSTACLES?
“The beginning was a little tough. Starting a business and leaving a job is always tough. You take a cut in salary and getting loans is very hard too. Small business loans especially. It was a little but of a struggle, but we did it.”
IS THIS A TOUGH BUSINESS TO GET INTO?
“It’s a heavy startup. That’s why everybody is like second, third and fourth generation. I’m first generation, that’s very hard in this business. You have to come up with a lot of money. You have to be lucky in a lot of ways too. Customer service definitely is number one for this business. You gotta stand behind everything. We try to warranty everything we do for people. Which is very important. You don’t wanna come back to a jeweler when something is broken, next thing you know they say they’re going to charge you to fix it.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK SETS YOU APART FROM OTHERS IN YOUR INDUSTRY OR EVEN IN THIS AREA?
“We make everything ourselves, in house, so I can save you a lot of money. We also have a whole CADCAM division (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing). It’s where you can bring a picture in of anything and we can make it. We have a 3 dimensional wax printer. We do everything here, top to bottom. C&C mill, castings, all of our metals are done here, our settings, we have a platinum smith too. Everything is done here on the premises. So, it’s a short turn-around. We have three jewelers on the premises and three setters.”
ROSEANNE ALESSIO: (Manager)
“We also do the police and fireman’s 20 year ring. Artisans, AOH (Ancient Order of Hibernians), LAOH (Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians). We’re affiliated with a lot of different organizations. We also do a lot with the teamsters and high schools too.”
“Roseanne was one of the first people to leave with me when I opened the store.”
“We talked about it for one year.”
“It’s tough moving on since we were at the other place for a long time.”
*We at One, Unified can’t say enough about how friendly, professional, and courteous Kevin and the entire staff at Infinity were. We were extremely impressed with their dedication to their business, their professional knowledge, their product and to customer satisfaction above all else. They made us feel very at home in their store. They had exquisite pieces of jewelry and beautiful items to fit all budgets. And best of all, anyone mentioning “One Unified” will receive 10% off their in-store purchase (excluding engagement rings) at both Infinity Jewelers and Infinity Gifts and Beyond locations.*
Infinity Jewelers and Infinity Gifts & Beyond are located at:
3526 & 3528 Cottman Ave.
Find them on the web at:
And check them out on Facebook
Open for Business: Supporting Local Businesses & Business Owners.
With the holidays approaching, naturally our minds are on prepping, planning, and of course, shopping. One of the things we feel strongly about is buying small, and buying local. Supporting local businesses and business owners helps stimulate the economy, and pumps money back into your own community rather than putting it into the pockets of billionaire corporations thousands of miles away. Buying local can reduce environmental impact too, and keep your community unique and thriving.
Supporting local businesses is not just about purchasing goods for sale. It’s also about utilizing services, frequenting local dining and drinking establishments, and more.
With this in mind, One Unified will be bringing you portraits of local businesses all week long. We’re showing a more personal side of your friendly neighborhood business people. The faces behind the goods and services offered to you.
So be sure to check in every day this week to see who the spotlight is on. Don’t miss a minute. Some of our local businesses have specials in store just for One Unified readers. Stay tuned! Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details.
Since we’re talking about small businesses and business owners, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that we are both business owners ourselves.
In addition to raising a family, working as a freelance writer and blogger, and now co-founding this site, Michelle is also the co-owner of Dirt Devils, LLC, a commercial and residential cleaning company. You can click on the link to go to our Facebook page and find out more. We service all of Philadelphia and Camden County, and also most parts of Bucks and Montgomery Counties, as well as some parts of Burlington, Gloucester, and Delaware Counties.
Noelle, in addition to being a busy wife and mother, and co-founder of this site, also runs a successful business as an Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay. You can find her at http://www.marykay.com/nflorek or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/noelleflorekbeautyconsultant You can get a complimentary skin consultation & pampering as well as a gift certificate for anyone that messages her through her website and mentions One, Unified.