Eddie Basha re: Sip Holes and Brand-Ops.

Eddie Basha Jr. CEO: Basha’s Markets and AJ’s Fine Foods

Hello Eddie,

Twenty years ago you gave me a piece of business advice that was enormously helpful to me and my family and to Lee Broom Gallery. I’d like to return the favor.

I’ve been enjoying coffee and pastry at nearly all your AJ Stores since before we met in the late seventies. With thousands of cups of your coffee to start those days and a pastry for breakfast and with subsequent trips during the week to the best produce market in the valley, I have noticed very few marketing mistakes. There is one however, that appears to occur in every valley AJ Market and which has existed for decades.

Your bakery seems to be the busiest part of each store. For years I have begun my day by purchasing an apple turnover or muffin, perhaps two peanut butter cookies. But always I order the coffee of the day in a medium cup. The best coffee anywhere, Starbucks doesn’t even come close. But there is a branding opportunity with every sip. Think about that. How many cups are sold each day; hundreds? Times how many sips; dozens? Times 365 days a year. The opportunity for branding in any given year must surely be numbered in at least, the hundreds of thousands.

The sip hole on the coffee cup, if placed directly over your logo can present that logo to the customer with every sip. If the customer is sitting at a table across from another AJ coffee sipper, the branding opportunity doubles and doubles again. I have watched and waited for this opportunity to occur and in spite of what one would expect, if simply for no other reason than the laws of chance, the logo should be in postion often. In fact, the sip hole is nearly always over a white area or somehere in between.

So stunned was I at this initial observation that I began keeping a record of coffee cup lid placement in AJ bakeries beginning in August of 2008. I sent you a letter about this six months later. With all that was going on with the economy I didn’t expect you to read it but I do hope you have the opportunity now to do so.

I am older today and because of the recession my daily allotment of AJ coffee is now a special event on Monday mornings at 44th street and Wednesday evening at PV with a business meeting on the patio or in the bakery with a dozen friends.

Jay still notices as I enter your 44th and Camelback store and has my cup of coffee ready for me along with an apple turnover by the time I reach his counter. He takes great pride in giving the very best possible service not just to me, but to everyone he greets; I would not criticize his methods even for an instant. He will surely be a store mangager someday soon

I do however, challenge you to take time to see for yourself, that this problem does exist. And, I hope you will correct this within each of your bakeries and perhaps even to track increased sales in those areas from that day forward and to notice corresponding sales increases in other departments.

Thank you again for the tip you gave me so many years ago when you took a minute and described to me a better way to invite my customers to keep coming back for more. Thank you for your time, Eddie Basha. (You would have been a great Governor.)

Lee Broom.

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