Raye’s Mustard Eastport, Maine
“Nobody still makes mustard the old-fashioned way like we do. Our website and social media help tell our story.”Karen Raye, Co-ownerRaye’s Mustard has been in business for 116 years.link www.rayesmustard.comThe Raye family has been milling mustard for four generations. In 1900, J. Wesley Raye, a 20-year-old sea captain's son, founded the business in the family smokehouse to make mustard sauce for Maine’s burgeoning sardine industry. But then came canned tuna, and the public's taste for the salty little fish ebbed like the outgoing tide. "The sardine industry died off," says Karen Raye, who bought the business with her husband, Kevin, from his cousin in 2006. "We had to figure out, ‘How do we keep this company going?’ We knew the mustard the sardines were packed in was really good, so we decided to make gourmet and specialty mustards."
The Internet opened up fertile new fishing grounds to market Raye's gourmet mustards. About 25% of sales are online. Karen and Kevin relaunched their e-commerce website twice, using Google Analytics to figure out what netted the best results. “It's important to have a crisp-looking website with appetite appeal and a shopping cart that makes it easy for people to make their selections,” Karen says. “Google Analytics lets us know how customers are finding us,” she says. “Customers who find us through Google are now customers for life.”
The couple has doubled sales and production, employing six full-time people and another three or four over the holidays. Raye’s Historic Old Stone Mill still stands as a working museum. "When we started out, we had about three flavors,” Karen says. “Today we have upwards of 25.” They offer gourmet blends such as Brown Ginger and Garlic Honey Wine, but their original Down East Schooner remains a bestseller and gold-medal winner in worldwide mustard competitions. The company founders would be proud. "It's fun to watch the company grow and progress,” Karen says. “But it's really about preserving jobs in our part of Maine."Raye’s Mustard has been in business for 116 years.link www.rayesmustard.com
Gelato Fiasco Brunswick, Maine
“You don't need a fancy campaign to connect with customers on the Internet.”Bobby Guerette, Marketing Director45 employeeslink www.gelatofiasco.comMaine may be best known for its lobsters, but entrepreneurs Josh Davis and Bruno Tropeano are adding artisan-crafted Italian gelato to the mix. They met as business students at Bentley College in Massachusetts. Bruno, whose parents came from Italy, longed for homemade gelato. Josh, a native Mainer, saw an unscooped market niche. In 2007, they opened their Gelato Fiasco flagship store in Brunswick. Customers flocked in for the mouth-watering desserts—literally wearing out the floorboards. The pair opened a second shop in Portland in 2012 and a “Flavor Foundry” in 2014 to support product distribution to grocery stores.
Google products have helped Josh and Bruno make Gelato Fiasco a success. They use AdWords, Google's advertising program, to help customers find where the product is sold. "If somebody pulls out their cell phone in Portland looking for gelato, they can find us," says Marketing Director Bobby Guerette. “Our ad was shown 74,000 times in one month.” Their Google My Business listing helps potential customers find their shops and drives foot traffic even in the off-season. The company uses email and social media to keep customers engaged, sending out daily Flavor Alerts and posting a menu of each store’s ever-changing flavors every single day on their website. YouTube videos offer a taste-bud-tantalizing peek at how the gelato is made, using milk from Maine dairy farms, and other fresh, natural ingredients. Google Apps for Work, including Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs, keeps the back office humming.
Their approach has been working. Revenue grew from $1.9 million in 2013 to $3.1 million in 2014 and their gelato is now sold in over 2,000 grocery stores across the U.S. Bobby says they're looking at Google Analytics to learn more about customers' online behaviors. The company believes in giving back—their Scooping for Community program donated more than $16,000 to Maine nonprofits in 2013. "Our brand is about building genuine relationships with people," Bobby says. "We use the web to extend those relationships. The Internet helps us run and grow our business every day."45 employeeslink www.gelatofiasco.com