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Cate Luzio spent two decades as a corporate banker—in 2018, she pivoted. With the goal of supporting women in their career journeys, Cate founded Luminary, a NYC-based professional networking space. Emily chats with Cate about her experience self-funding Luminary and how the community-centered business weathered the pandemic. Then, Luminary member and fellowship winner Gwen Beloti speaks to the close-knit community’s benefits. Listen in to learn how you can expand your business and network.
Ash Cordona never thought he’d own a donut shop, after years in trucking and transportation, but when an opportunity to buy Donutopia fell into their laps, he and his wife Sophea jumped at the chance to own a small business. They’ve turned it into one of the most popular donut shops in San Angelo, Texas. Donutopia Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
Technology can be a tricky thing for a small business. Used correctly, it can increase revenue and streamline operations. But bad technology can be devastating to the customer experience and a business’s bottom line. Jeremy Julian, host of the Restaurant Tech Guys podcast, says technology should always serve a purpose, be adaptable, and increase the ease of your customer experience, even if the tech isn’t customer facing. Restaurant Technology Guys Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
Brandon Gardner has a long history in customer service, so it made perfect sense to use that expertise when he bought SoCo Taphouse in San Angelo, Texas in 2015. With a combination of knowledgeable staff, a warm and friendly atmosphere, and incredible craft beers, SoCo Taphouse has become a home away from home for regulars like reviewer Josh. Yelp’s Small Business expert Emily Washcovick chatted with them both about how SoCo made itself “The Cheers of Beers.” SoCo Taphouse Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
We know that digital presence is a critical part of business strategy, but how can business owners and marketing managers ensure that their plans are effective? In this episode, Emily is joined by the director of market insights at SOCi, Damian Rollison. SOCi is a data-driven platform that empowers brands to scale their presence across local search and social media—listen in as the two discuss how you can leverage engagement to improve your online presence and simplify multi-location operations. SOCi Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
Business owner Kristin Near knows that patience is a virtue. At Botanica Skin and Brow Studio in Albuquerque, new staff members are trained throughout an internship that can last months. Brand awareness builds with incremental growth rather than large campaigns. Kristin’s successful strategy has sparked stellar customer referrals and online reviews, keeping Botanica in business for eight years and counting. Botanica Skin & Brow Studio Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
Online reviews—positive and negative—can reveal a wealth of benefits for your small business. With the right review response strategy in place, you can capitalize on your customer feedback to make lasting, positive changes. In this episode, hear from several business owners about how they use online reviews to strengthen their business practices, boost morale, and encourage customers to return again and again. Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
For most business owners, your business is you—and you are your business. With identities intertwined in business plans and goals, setting boundaries between your work and personal life is a challenge. In this episode, Emily is joined again by Yauss and Sascha of the Texas craft bakery Skull and Cakebones, to take a deep dive into their mental health journeys and how it has impacted their business, and provide some tips for how to ensure you’re bringing your best, healthiest self to work. Skull & Cakebones Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
Duran Central Pharmacy has been around more than 80 years, but it’s more than just a place to pick up a prescription. It's an established New Mexican restaurant that hasn’t changed its menu in more than 50 years, but that consistency doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past. Duran’s owner Mona Ghattas has kept what works — the food — but rebranded and renovated to keep up with the times. Duran Central Pharmacy Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
Combining his passions for dogs and art, Josh White has created a unique dog grooming salon that keeps customers coming back. Dogue in West Hollywood does standard grooming, but also uses color to make dogs look extra snazzy. Most importantly, customers trust the experienced staff to go above and beyond, from expert grooming to teaching proper at home upkeep. With its welcoming environment, humans and dogs alike have been known to treat Dogue as a second home. Dogue Spa Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
From the physical environment to interactions with employees, the Uncommon Closet experience is intentionally inclusive. Business-owner Korri has created a tailoring shop that is welcoming to all. That element has been built in since day one and the shop grew quickly within just a few years. With that growth came challenges, but the emphasis on creating a positive and gender-affirming customer experience has remained throughout the business’s evolution. Uncommon Closet Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
Starbright Floral Design provides a high quality product and top notch customer service to all of their clients. In this episode, hear from owner Nic Faitos on how nearly 30 years into his business he’s still having fun and finding unique and creative ways to work with clients and celebrate flowers. Customer Ali joins the conversation to share what sets Starbright apart from other floral shops and how Nic’s team goes the extra mile to make customers feel like family. Starbright Floral Design Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
Sometimes picking just one thing and doing it well can turn around an entire business. Tres Lecheria Bakery in Seattle makes one thing, tres leches cakes, albeit in a number of varieties. After pivoting from an assortment of baked goods to just the most popular, Kevin Moulder’s business took off in some unexpected directions, and he hasn’t looked back since. Tres Lecheria Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
Owners Yauss and Sascha of Skull & Cakebones have made their bakery a haven for all kinds of people by paying attention to ingredients and being true to themselves. In addition to being vegan, their products are all delicious and nut allergy-friendly, and their staff is knowledgeable on product ingredients to help guide customers toward safe-for-them foods. They’ve also baked their own personal experiences and beliefs into their small business, creating a safe space in their community. Skull & Cakebones Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
Robbins Brothers prioritizes a long-term relationship with their customers. The staff always aims to connect individuals with their dream piece by providing a welcoming environment, but the Robbins Brothers experience goes well into the future, including follow up interactions and annual cleanings. Tune in to hear Kevin’s engagement ring shopping experience and how general manager Charlotte helps foster a positive environment within the intimidating realm of jewelry shopping. Robbins Brothers (San Diego location) Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
This week, small business expert Emily Washcovick sits down with Yelp social media manager Lara Betthauser for some frank talk about using your social media pages effectively, and how to get over the scary idea of video content by using existing resources — your employees.
Keith Zeiler knows a thing or two about pet nutrition, and wanted to share that knowledge with his community, so he opened Paws on Chicon, a boutique pet store that focuses on your furry friend first. Through a well-educated staff and a careful selection of products, he’s grown his business and added a second location that is almost a carbon-copy of the first, keeping things consistent and helping pet owners find the best food and treats for their dogs and cats. Paws on Chicon Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
Farm Ale Brewing stays true to the history of their old schoolhouse, while brewing exceptionally good beer. But they’re keeping things small and local to insure the highest quality ingredients, while supporting other local businesses in the area, and hiring employees for their potential, not necessarily their experience.
Have you seen the “Yelp Elite” badge on profiles on Yelp or encountered community managers in your city, but felt unsure about what their roles are in the business community? Emily sits down with Gabi and Aimee—two Yelp employees who got their start as community managers—to discuss the importance of community and explain the inner workings of local Yelper networks. Give it a listen to understand how community managers and Elites work together to support small businesses across the country.
Nola Bliss Massage Therapy starts making its clients more comfortable before they walk in the door with user-friendly online booking. Once they’re inside, the client-forward service continues with personalized service, and a staff that reflects the diverse New Orleans neighborhood. Tune in to hear what keeps reviewer Swati coming back, and how owner Sara has scaled from her solo operation to over 20 massage therapists. Nola Bliss Massage Ali Schwartz Meserole Sound
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