Lancaster, New Hampshire
Dave Fuller will admit that he’s a syrup guy first and a businessman second. Dave grew up on a small farm in rural New Hampshire, where he learned about maple syrup from his grandfather, an experienced sugarmaker. Dave would do it all, from tapping trees to gathering sap and boiling syrup. Years later, Dave used his knowledge to open Fuller’s Sugarhouse along with his wife, Patti. “[Producing syrup] really is my passion in life, and I’ve been able to figure out how to make a living at it,” said Dave. Based in Lancaster, Fuller’s Sugarhouse produces up to 9,000 gallons of pure maple syrup each spring. Making syrup isn’t its challenge: “We’re located in an extremely rural area, which means we have a lot of maple trees, but we don’t necessarily have a lot of folks around to buy our product,” said Dave. “We realized we needed to be online to expand our customer base.” With this in mind, the Fullers decided to team up with marketing coordinator Pam Sullivan to reach more potential customers.
Pam steered the Fullers toward Google Ads to connect with syrup lovers around the country. “We use the search and keyword tools to optimize the website so it can be found in organic search. Google Analytics is key for tracking the programs we’re putting out there and informing future decisions,” said Pam. Almost half of the company’s advertising budget is dedicated to digital. Additionally, Fuller’s Sugarhouse uses Google My Business to display its hours and location across Google Maps and Google Search, allowing people to find it more easily.
In the last year, Fuller’s Sugarhouse has seen 22% year-over-year revenue growth and is setting its sights on the wholesale market next. “We’re looking to expand into the ingredient market, with more wholesale inquiries from producers of products that use maple syrup,” said Pam. “That’s a big part of the Google Ads work we do. It’s the only lead generation tool we’re using.” In addition to wholesale expansion, the company is focused on driving visitors to its community by offering tours of the sugarhouse to capitalize on the growing agritourism trend in the region. “It’s a huge potential growth opportunity — if we get tourists here, everybody will do better,” said Pam. For Dave, as long as the company’s future involves the Fuller family, he’s happy. “We want to see this business continue to grow, and we’d love it to stay a family business,” he said. “I have a grandson who seems very interested in it, and for him to someday step in and take over would be one of the most satisfying things I could ever imagine.”
“Speedy” Bill Smith founded Speedway Motors in 1952 using a $300 loan from his wife, Joyce. Theirs was one of the first speed shops in the Midwest, which they started in a tiny building on 22nd Street. Today, Speedway Motors is under the leadership of the couple’s four sons. They operate out of a 500,000-square-foot facility and manufacture automotive parts for car enthusiasts around the world. Like Speedy Bill—a racer and street rodder himself—the Speedway Motors team is passionate about racing and rodding. “We’ve built the projects that our customers are building. We’ve raced on the tracks that they’re racing on. We are our customers. And it’s that ability to empathize and provide expert service that has made us a recognized leader in these industries,” says Director of E-commerce Aaron Remaklus.
Speedway Motors launched their first website in 2000 when they noticed consumer behavior shifting from catalog-based phone orders to online orders. “More and more of our customers are now online and engaging with us across multiple channels,” says Aaron. The company uses AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to market their products to customers nationwide. “It’s the best tool that we’ve had to demonstrate that we can advertise profitably, drive traffic, and see healthy growth,” he adds. They turn to Google Analytics to ensure that they are spending their digital advertising dollars as effectively as they can. And with over 500 videos and 25,000 subscribers, their YouTube channel has been “a great tool for capturing who we really are, sharing our passion, and demonstrating to car enthusiasts that we get them—that we're here to make their dreams come true," explains Aaron.
Speedway Motors is proud to call Lincoln, Nebraska, home. “A lot of innovative ideas are coming out of the Midwest. We're excited that a lot of it is happening here, and that we can be part of it,” says Director of Marketing Betsy Grindlay. The company creates numerous jobs for local university graduates, and supports the Museum of American Speed, which Bill and Joyce founded in 1992 to help preserve the history of hot rods. “Being able to employ more people, give back to the things you’re passionate about, and see your community grow is the best part for us,” Betsy adds. As they look to the future, Speedway Motors aims to become the resource automotive enthusiasts turn to for advice, knowledge, and expert help. “Whether this is a new passion that you’ve just discovered, or you’ve been doing this for decades, we want to be your go-to destination,” Aaron shares.
Exeter, New Hampshire
GourmetGiftBaskets.com is celebrating their 15 year anniversary in 2017
In 1976, David and Trudy Abood opened a flower shop in Manchester, New Hampshire. The business thrived, with David eventually bringing on son Ryan as president and CEO. Ryan had a hunch that the family's side business—making gift baskets in the store basement—could grow beyond the local community, so he launched GourmetGiftBaskets.com in 2002. "We provide a variety of products for all the major occasions in people's lives," says Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jason Bergeron. They work with select vendors to procure fine chocolates and candies, baked goods, snacks, coffees and teas, and other gift basket goodies. They also manufacture their signature product, which pops up in many orders—handcrafted gourmet popcorn. "We're an aggregator of the world's best gourmet foods," Jason says, “and what sets us apart is that we assemble all of our products ourselves right here in New Hampshire.”
Since their founding, the e-commerce operation has exploded with $20 million in annual sales. They rely on AdWords, Google's advertising program, to attract the right customers during specific times of the year and drive sales. “It accounts for 30 percent of our sales and is a key part of our growth,” Jason remarks. Google Analytics provides critical data to help them compete in a highly saturated marketspace. "We analyze everything," he adds, noting that 85 percent of their marketing budget is spent online. "By tracking every facet of customer interactions on our website, we can really dive in deeper and focus on areas where we find success."
GourmetGiftBaskets.com has been recognized by national publications for their rapid growth. Their affiliate and marketplace channels have a strong presence, and the company is busy expanding to other online marketplaces, entering the wholesale industry, and working to increase international sales. To accommodate their sweet success, they moved into a 107,000-square-foot facility in Exeter. They employ 50 people full-time and add temporary employees during peak holiday seasons. GourmetGiftBaskets.com supports the local food bank and offers an online donation request portal to share their goodwill with organizations across the U.S. "Working with Google has helped us grow in every channel," Jason says. "The digital world changes quickly, but because of the tools at our disposal, we are always ready to adapt."
Milford, New Hampshire
Since 1978, the Calvetti family has owned and operated Amherst Label, a custom label printing company serving businesses in the Northeast and beyond. If it needs a label, they've got it covered—from custom food and beverage labels, to industrial labeling and window decals. The advent of the Internet presented an opportunity for this traditional print company. "I used to go out and bang on doors and drop off literature," says Vice President Nye Hornor. But in 1998 they launched their first website. "We've grown with the Internet in our marketing mix. Our website keeps us in front of customers and makes us look relevant and professional."
The Amherst Label team now depends on their website to make it easy for customers to explore the wide variety of products they offer. Google Analytics provides them with insights into how users are interacting with their site and subsequently they’ve made changes to the site that have resulted in more qualified leads. They’ve also started creating content that tells their brand story by sharing YouTube videos with customers via email and on social media. "The feedback has been extraordinary," Nye says. "If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video is worth 10,000. Our videos brought us to life and featured our company in a genuine, positive way.”
They are achieving nearly $1 million annual sales growth, thanks in part to the Internet. They have also expanded their customer base to nearly 500 businesses, with 24% of new customers coming from the Internet. “Our steady business growth shows the importance of web-based marketing," Nye says. "It's a trend we're just starting to capitalize on. We’re learning about how Google tools can take us to the next level.” Still, they remain a "made in New Hampshire" company at heart and invest in their local community through supporting charities and creating seasonal jobs. They are also committed to being an environmentally-friendly company by reducing their carbon footprint, removing harmful chemicals from their workplace, and installing solar panels on their building. Amherst Label is one of only 19 companies in North America to receive the LIFE® certification from TLMI, the professional association for tag and label manufacturers and suppliers. The certification recognizes their efforts to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing—a label that they’re very proud of.