A Tale of Two Ice Cream Parlors

Don AlleyAll, BusinessLeave a Comment

Two ice cream parlors. Two store fronts. Two great locations. SAME STREET.

Not only the same street, but literally separated by two other businesses. A father and son could play catch at a safe distance from both of their doorsteps.

One is packed, and the other is a ghost town.

One has people shoulder to shoulder and struggling to get in and out of the door while the other has one person inside–the guy behind the counter. And he is looking down, on his phone. Oblivious to everything around him.

I’m always looking for way to do business better, ways to incorporate what other people are doing to rock their stores. Below are three of my observations, and three of my takeaways.

3 Blaring Differences:

  1. I could smell the cones. As we walked down the street, we first saw the bad place. And we turned our noses up to ice cream. Ice cream is bad for you, and we’re vegans. Ten paces later, we were accosted by the smell of waffle cone. It stopped us dead in our tracks, we looked in, looked at each other, and decided to splurge–veganism be damned.
  2. Bright lights. I think the main reason we didn’t go into the first place is it just looked closed. It was dark. There were lights on, but it wasn’t crazy bright. We put our faces to the window and realized it was open, my wife blurted, “Sketchy.” The good place, however, was extremely well-lit, and not only had enough lighting, it hanging lights, so the lighting was part of the decor of the facility.
  3. Smiling people behind the front counter. This is my pet peeve. Want to increase your business? Smile more. Sales people not selling enough? Smile more. Want to make more friends, get more dates, and have better stories to share? Smile more. The guy behind the counter of the bad place was on his phone looking down, and couldn’t be bothered with the fact that two potential customers were at his window. He could have possibly gotten us to come in if, upon seeing us, smiled big, jumped up, ran to the door, SMILED and said, “Get in here and get the best ice cream in Charleston!” We just may have put our guard down and got some ice cream. Even if we said no, at least we would have had a memorable experience.

3 Takeaways:

  1. What Can you do to appeal to people’s other senses as they walk past your front door? Motion-senators automated message? What could they hear? What could they smell? What can they touch? Something to distract them and make them stop. At Super Kicks, we use a BOB. Best employee ever.
  2. Is your place visually friendly? Does it scream “This is the place for you!” or does it scream “We suck and don’t have our shit together!” ?
  3. Remind your face that your happy. Remind your staff the same. Be the exception. Be happy. Leave whatever sucky experience that is troubling you at the door, and when you get to work, put your phone down and make eye contact, and smile. For the love of God, smile.


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