Harvest Ridge Winery Marydel, Delaware
Harvest Ridge Winery
“People like wine, and they like talking about wine online.”Sofia Horvath, Social Media ManagerHarvest Ridge Winery has 20 varieties of wine sold online.link www.harvestridgewinery.comAfter making wine in his basement for many years, Chuck Nunan planted his first vines in 2011. His Harvest Ridge Winery was only the fourth winery in Delaware when he and his wife, Chris, opened for business with their sons in 2013. Located on the Delmarva Peninsula, their farm spans the Delaware-Maryland border as well as the historic Mason-Dixon Line. “We are not in a region that people typically associate with winemaking,” says Sofia Horvath, Social Media Manager. But they are certainly making their mark.
The winery relies on the Internet to communicate, build the brand, and sell wines online. “I live and die by Google Calendar, to see what’s going on,” says Sofia, who works remotely from Minnesota. Gmail keeps everyone in touch. Google Analytics gives them insights into how people are finding and interacting with their site, which helps them keep the website relevant and user-friendly. Google+ is an important part of their aggressive social media strategy, which reaches some 15,000 people, and the winery has their own YouTube channel as well. Harvest Ridge also uses AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to connect with customers searching for wines. When they hold their special events each year to benefit local charities, they turn to AdWords to geographically target potential guests.
Harvest Ridge Winery has a noticeable impact in their rural community. “We have reached a lot of the locals, who are really excited that we’re there,” says Chuck. “It is something new and different for them.” The business now has ten full-time employees plus 20 to 30 part-time workers. They have launched a sister brand to make hard cider, which they expect to market and distribute nationally. Overall, about 75% of the marketing budget goes to online activities. “We have found that you get more bang for the buck online,” Chuck says. “We really think that we can get out beyond just Delaware and the East Coast. That’s where we’re going.”Harvest Ridge Winery has 20 varieties of wine sold online.link www.harvestridgewinery.com
Wooden Wheels Bike Shop Newark, Delaware
Wooden Wheels Bike Shop
“The Internet reinforces most people’s shopping habits now.”Tom Harvey, Owner39 years in businesslink www.woodenwheels.comWooden Wheels Bike Shop was founded in 1976, and having worked there since the age of 12, today Tom Harvey owns the business. “We’re a full-service bike shop,” he says. “Our slogan is ‘Nothing but Fun,’ because that’s what we’re selling—the pleasure and joy of going out and riding a bicycle.” The shop created its first website very early in the Internet era and has regularly updated and improved it ever since. While customers can buy bikes, clothing, and accessories on the site, “an online presence, for us, is mostly a way for our existing customers to browse our product selection,” Tom says.
“Whether you sell online or not, the Internet is how people are going to find you,” he adds. “That is how they get to your location. Everybody has a smartphone. That’s the way things work now.” Tom uses AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to reach customers. He also uses Google Analytics to keep his website current and to learn what works best there. Noticing unexpected visitors to his website from nearby Pennsylvania, for example, he increased his advertising in that area. The shop also relies on Google Apps for Work, especially Google Drive and Google Docs for collaboration. “I’m in my store, no matter where I am,” Tom says. “I can work from home, my car, and on vacation.” The bike shop is “totally cloud-based.”
Wooden Wheels now has a dozen employees at two locations, in Newark and Wilmington. The business has seen double-digit annual growth in recent years, and has won multiple Readers’ Choice awards from a local newspaper. The Internet has helped to increase convenience and efficiency for workers and customers alike. “Why is it that family businesses are surviving and some bigger institutions are not?” Tom asks. “Because they really matter to people.” And shrewd use of the Internet is helping small, family-owned businesses like Wooden Wheels Bike Shop matter all the more to their loyal local customers.
39 years in businesslink www.woodenwheels.com