Capon Springs and Farms Capon Springs, West Virginia
Capon Springs and Farms
Capon Springs, West Virginia
“Digital communication has become an important way to share information and carry on a conversation with our guests.”Jonathan Bellingham, Marketing ManagerCapon Springs and Farms has 7,500 seasonal guests.link www.caponsprings.netFour generations of one family have owned and operated Capon Springs and Farms since the depths of the Great Depression in 1932. The company originally bottled the spring water, before resurrecting the historic resort destroyed by fire two decades earlier. Many current guests are descendants of people who first visited 80 years ago. Activities include golf (regular, disc, and fling), hiking, swimming, fishing, spa services and more. “It's an all-inclusive getaway and a step back in time,” says Jonathan Bellingham, Marketing Manager. “It's humbling what the place means to so many people. Some of them came here as kids and have now gone through generations of their family, just like ours.”
Located 100 miles west of Washington, DC, and open seven months a year, the resort for decades relied solely on word-of-mouth to attract new guests. And it was the regular visitors themselves who encouraged the business into expanding their presence on the web and social media. Since 2013, the resort has revamped their website, including making it mobile-friendly, and has learned to use many digital tools. Google Analytics helps them make good business decisions and keep their website relevant. A YouTube channel lets them share videos. Google Docs and Sheets let the extended family communicate easily with one another about the business. Jonathan’s niece helps keep their social media fresh and interesting.
“We're not trying to go from zero to sixty, but we're certainly going from zero to thirty and learning along the way,” Jonathan says. After decades of mostly steady business, Capon Springs and Farms saw more than 6% additional guests and an 8% jump in revenue in 2015. As a successful business in a remote area, they employ 125 seasonal workers, 20 full-time staff, and help support the local fire and rescue squads. The resort’s digital surge “has been very reaffirming and very reassuring that the future is bright,” Jonathan adds. “Is there a real need in the marketplace and in the world for a place like this? What I'm hearing is a resounding yes.”Capon Springs and Farms has 7,500 seasonal guests.link www.caponsprings.net
Mountaineer Brand Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Shepherdstown, West Virginia
“The Internet has really helped us grow our business and make our presence known.”Eric Young, CEO & PresidentMountaineer Brand has 7 employees.link www.mountaineerbrand.comWhile working for the National Guard in 2013, Eric Young grew a beard and wanted to care for it properly. “I was looking for something to use, and saw that everything was more than I could afford to buy,” he says. So he started making his own beard oil in his kitchen. Eric gave some away as Christmas gifts and began selling a bit online. Once he realized that there was real potential to turn his hobby into a business, he called in his younger sister, Meredith, as his partner. In 2014, they built a barn-style workshop on their property along the Potomac River outside Shepherdstown. In the summer of 2015, they hired a digital agency and things really took off.
Today, they use a range of Google tools to market and run the business. “Whenever I’m looking for something, the first thing I do is see if Google has a solution. And Google does,” Meredith says. When they began using AdWords, Google’s advertising program, digital advertising became the cornerstone of their marketing strategy. During the busy holiday season they saw a strong return-on-investment with AdWords, particularly from mobile. Google Analytics is their central source of data, allowing them to track performance and gain insights into how their customers are interacting with the website. Google Apps for Work, including Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Sheets, helps to keep this busy company organized and productive. Google Drive is particularly useful for easily sharing photos and graphics with stores and clients.
Mountaineer Brands is now a staff of seven, and they recently moved into a larger warehouse space to accommodate their explosive growth. Their product line has expanded to include oils, balms, waxes, and shampoos. “What makes Mountaineer Brand different is our dedication to simplicity and value,” Eric says. “We don’t spend money on fancy packaging, and neither do our customers.” He routinely hears from beard aficionados around the world. “To have a guy in India tell me he uses our products all the time and loves them, and sends me pictures of himself with a t-shirt we sent him, that's just kind of neat.”Mountaineer Brand has 7 employees.link www.mountaineerbrand.com
Spring Hill Pastry, LLC Charleston, West Virginia
Spring Hill Pastry, LLC
Charleston, West Virginia
“Without Google Maps, I don't know how customers would find us.”Chris Williams, Co-owner350 cakes sold each weeklink www.springhillpastry.comSpring Hill Pastry Shop hasn't changed its recipes for homemade cakes, pastries, pies, breads, and cookies since the bakery's founding in 1948. Robin and Chris Williams are third-generation owners. "We've done wedding cakes for three and four generations of the same family," Chris says. "A lot of products featured on our website have the exact same ingredients as when we first opened. That part of the business hasn't changed." What has changed is how the bakery markets itself.
The couple launched a website in 2005 to reserve the Spring Hill Pastry domain name, with no big plans to do much else. Soon, however, they realized their website's potential as a powerful marketing tool. "Our website shows people that we don’t make the typical bakery items you’re going to find in a grocery store," Chris says. Google Search and Google Maps proved vital from the start. They help customers find this off-the-beaten-path gem, while saving busy counter staff from giving directions over the phone. "This allows us to have more orders come in the door, and keeps customers from getting lost," Chris says. They now have 21 employees, sell around 350 cakes a week, and serve 300-350 customers on Saturdays alone. People line up for their famous "hot dogs"—long, cream-filled donuts topped with powdered sugar and drizzled chocolate.
In their 60 years of operation, they've outgrown their building three times, including adding 1,000 square feet to the production area in 2014. In that same year, they donated $40,000 to local organizations and the local soup kitchen. Chris and Robin's children are next in line to take over the family business, which is so brisk that they're considering opening a second shop in downtown Charleston. Quite simply, "We believe in small business," says Chris. Chris offers this advice to other entrepreneurs who are thinking about using Google tools to bring traffic to websites and businesses: "Make sure you can totally handle the influx of that advertising. Because it reaches so much more than you can imagine."350 cakes sold each weeklink www.springhillpastry.com