Espresso is the big money maker for The Boulder Stop, with coffee peripherals coming in a close second. The sport climbing gear is a long-term sales project that will rely on future catalog and “word-of-mouth” sales to achieve a positive ROI.
The Boulder Stop sells high-quality sport climbing gear to serious climbers. The gear is checked by knowledgeable employees who use and recommend equipment to customers and management. The gear is purchased from well-known manufacturers like Black Diamond, Boreal, and Petzl. Management will rely on employees and customers to shorten the feedback loop in product and service offerings. Climbing gear is delivered every Thursday via UPS.
Straight espresso bean rebuys arrive on Mondays and Thursdays, ensuring the freshest beans possible. Modified rebuys begin on the first of each month. The owner will oversee all purchases, shipments, and deliveries.
3.1 Product Description
The Boulder Stop sells the entire raft of coffee drinks: lattes, mochas, cappuccino, espresso, and a delicious house blend. The coffee and espresso beans are freshly roasted by Espresso Harvest. Our team of two part-time high school students will create the beverages for customers. They will be trained in “The Art of Making the Proper Espresso Beverage” at Espresso Harvest, which hosts such classes once a month.
The Boulder Stop also sells carabiners, friends, nuts, ropes, webbing, shoes, and harnesses; our product mix is sufficient to satisfy even the most hard-core enthusiast. Below is a listing of some high-end products that we market:
- Black Diamond Camalot Camming Device – $50 to $100
- Wild Country Forged Friends with Sling – $35 to $65
- Hugh Banner HMS Locking Carabiner – $12 to $17
- The North Face Bouldering Sweatshirt, Men’s – $85 to $105
- Mammut Flash Duodess 10.5mm Dry Rope – $185 to $200
- Boreal Ace Rock Shoes – $150 to $170
All products are quality checked when they arrive and quality checked before the customer takes them home.
3.2 Competitive Comparison
The Boulder Stop has several advantages over its leading competitor.
- Newer inventory and more modern interior fixtures.
- Espresso drinks are made available to consumers while they shop, increasing marketing message impact. Our competitor offers the shopping experience that lacks the thrill of being able to sit down with friends, munch on a cookie, drink espresso and “talk shop”.
- The Boulder Stop is a fun, spacious store catering to both the climbing Pros and the inexperienced. Our competitor, Rockage, is an exclusive Pro shop that discourages some newcomers to the sport. Our positioning encourages those just getting started, a one-stop destination for equipment advice and purchasing opportunities, technique and safety instruction, and conversation with other enthusiasts.
- We expect a high degree of expertise and enthusiasm from our employees and we compensate them accordingly. All employees are hired for their expertise and enthusiasm and will be paid at a rate well above the minimum wage to facilitate low-turnover and long-term loyalty.
3.3 Sales Literature
The Boulder Stop will use advertising and sales programs to get the word out to customers.
- 2000 four-color brochures to be distributed throughout Bend-area facilities: outdoor clothing shops, hotels, ranger stations, chambers of commerce, tourism offices, eateries, and other tourist-frequented spots one month before May grand opening.
- Half-page newspaper advertisements in Oregon regional newspapers, advertising the following sales promotion: introductory rock-climbing classes, two days for $100 per person. Copy: magazine and newspaper advertisements.
- Web promotions: We will administer a website at www.boulder-stop.com. This website will present promotional material such as new marketing programs, product white papers, and contests. The site will allow for immediate purchase of gear online and will use a secure server to process transactions through Cybercash.
3.4 Future Products
Future expansion may allow for a horizontal increase of our product line by offering additional product categories: water sport gear, camping gear, and mountain biking accessories. We won’t rule out the possibility of vertically integrating through our own line of climbing gear and/or espresso. We will also explore new services such as gear storage lockers, cellular phone rentals, and same day guide services.
One dream the owner has is to develop an Internet environment within the store, not to remove people from those surrounding them, but to help them stay in touch with friends, family, and the latest information about rock climbing.
Sourcing is critical for any enterprise, especially a retail operation. The Espresso Harvest will be our coffee vendors, and will handle many in-store merchandising issues for their line of coffee products. Operational supplies for the coffee bar will be purchased from the regional supply wholesaler, who will handle special merchandising issues, such as point-of-sale materials. The sport and recreation inventory will be sourced directly from manufacturers like Black Diamond, Boreal, and Petzl.
We will solidify relationships with vendors so that we may achieve decreased cost-of-goods. Our competitor buys from some of the same vendors we do, yet we believe that through marketing programs and strategic alliances we will gain more loyalty from these vendors. This is our long-term strategy for gaining a sourcing competitive advantage.
Advertising costs are outsourced to [Omitted]. Most sales promotion and public relations work is handled in-house by Luke. Luke will write all product white-papers and combine those with literature supplied by the manufacturer.
Future seminars and climbing clinics will be handled either by the owner or by several certified and experienced tour and adventure professionals. We will use local contacts to research the availability of celebrity climbers to sponsor some of these clinics and events. We believe this tactic will build a grass-roots network of climbers that will help us to differentiate The Boulder Stop as a “hang-out” for serious and curious climbers.
We use off-the-shelf, PC-based software for accounting purposes, including AR/AP, inventory, purchasing, sales, and returns.
Our business plan is generated on an annual basis using Business Plan Pro® from Palo Alto Software, and reviewed quarterly for evaluation. Further functionality is provided by Palo Alto Software’s companion package, Marketing Plan Pro®, which allows us to make the most use of our marketing dollars by focusing our communications on target markets and enhancing our marketing knowledge.
We are in the process of implementing a website for The Boulder Stop. Online commerce is becoming an increasingly attractive option due to the relatively low cost-of-goods, the global reach of the medium, and the increasing security. Our business model could quite conceivably expand to include a form of Internet commerce in a variety of adventure equipment.