Elsa’s House of Sleep | Small Business Revolution: S6E5

Elsa’s House of Sleep | Small Business Revolution: S6E5

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Salesforce is committed to helping small businesses tackle big challenges. We're proud to join Deluxe and the Small Business Revolution as they help Black businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul, grow their businesses in a world filled with change. To learn more, visit salesforce.com/smallbusiness. All right, so it's named Elsa, it's named after his mom. His mom started the business.

So this is truly a multi-generational family business. This is cool. House of Sleep, let's go. - Hey guys. - Hi! Hey how you doing guys.

Baron, this is Nneka and Tetra. - Hi nice to meet you. - Hi how are you? I love this place, it's named after your mom, huh? Yeah my mom started the store in 1997 and now I'm just so glad that I'm able to keep it going. Carry on that legacy.

I love it. Well it's a huge testament to your commitment because I mean, your customers rave about you and you are so important to this community though. You guys are doing a great job. And this sustains all the families that are here. I have a career of my own but this sustains our family.

To me, it's really something that ties us all together. All my family members have worked here at one point or another. Oh wow.

This is my cousin Ermias is here and actually... Ermias, can you come on out? Hey, how's it going? Hey. It really is a family affair.

It is. It just feels good to bring the family element to our business. Absolutely. Make the customers feel almost like family as well too.

Love that. Can we try some of this stuff out? - Yeah, sure. - I mean I wanna, I wanna get comfortable. This is a pretty sweet head board. Yeah, it is, and it can light up.

This is definitely a gentlemen's bed. (laughing) Or a lady's bed. It's just super fun, you know? So then, this one here is a bit traditional mattress really. This is like the mattress that's been made since like 1900s, 1800s. - It's like... - Classic. Yeah, classic mattress.

But then also we have some other type of mattresses like this one's got the tensile covers. Oh, cool. Always get a happening sleep. Yeah, yup.

- And also. - Does it feel cool? We may not make it to the rest of the show. Can I get some different lights. (everyone laughing) These lights are not to his liking! Ah, Light me up please. (everyone laughing) Small businesses across the country are fighting for their survival, with the odds stacked against them.

But what happens if we join that fight? If we put a little money, a lot of experience and thousands of hours of work into the entrepreneurs who are striving every day to see their businesses and their communities thrive. For years, the team traveled from one small town to the next putting a main street make-over into action and building a movement that is millions strong. But 2020 changed everything. And no one was hit harder than Black-owned businesses, in Minneapolis and St. Paul. It was time for the small business revolution to come home.

Now Amanda Brinkman and her team of marketing experts at Deluxe are rolling their sleeves, doing what they do for millions of small businesses every day. And they're not alone. NBA All-Star turned entrepreneur Baron Davis will help chart a course to success while the whole cast of experts and partners line up behind some of the twin cities most important Black-owned businesses. Every episode we'll be working with a new small business to see if we can change the odds. If in a moment, unlike anything this country has ever seen, we can keep the revolution alive. Yo, this is Tim Wilson coming to you live from Urban Lights Music.

And this goes out to all my neighbors in the Midway. As kids we'd slipped from our mother's side, as she bargained and bought, to explore the store's small city of sofas and night stands. We did dart, captains quick, beneath rustic bed frames, buffets, sailing past neon signs of 50% off. Buy one, get one free, financing and layaway. A labor of love, as the clerk invented new deals for our bunk bed.

For the mattress that helped untie our mother's back, Refusing boredom, we braved the mirrors the sizes of men. Futons laid like rafts returning us to the front counter. A city staple for good sleep has survived the city's currents and will thrive with us in mind. Can I just tell you the whole story? My mom was born in Eritrea Asmara, and she came to this country as an exchange student when she was in high school. And then once she was able to connect with a Black community in Minnesota, she was here to stay.

She worked every type of job possible and brought her five brothers and sisters and her mother to the US so that they could unite as a family, once again. My mom was continuous entrepreneur and in the late 90s, she got sick with cancer. When she was in remission, she started Elsa's House of Sleep. Oh, she was a beautiful, wonderful lady. She would help you, work with you.

If you wanted this and you really wanted this, she'll find a way that you can get it. And I've always felt welcomed. I didn't feel like I being watched. I didn't feel like I was being followed.

I really felt like whatever it is that you need, I'm here to help you. And her son, he has the same patience, the same gentleness. Yes.

I mean the same warming, you know, feel like family, extended family feel. After I got done with college, my mom wanted me to take over the business. She started just imparting a whole lot of knowledge to me. And this mattress here, it's got memory foam and one inch of jelly.

So it feels cool to the touch. Yeah. That's what we need.

I didn't really understand that she felt that she was gonna be getting sicker. And, 2004, my mom had passed away. Prior to that, in 2003, my dad had passed away. At that point, I was really having a hard time, but I just had in my mind, get up, go open the shop in the morning, get up, go.

And that was able to keep me going. It touches me to hear him so passionate about her and the people that he loves so much. She planted this tree and so many people are eating off the fruits. So many people have been continuously blessed by her sacrifice. I've been here roughly going on 20 years.

Talk about this though. Yeah it's new it just came. Tetra, he has been by my side, I've had a past history and never once has he left me or like, nope you can't come back here.

Not once. Almost got me teary just thinking about the love he has shown me. I don't even look at his work. I'm not coming here just like, I'm coming home. The average Black business, according to the SBA has 2.5 employees. He has 14.

How do you get to 20? How do you get to 30? But how do you keep the integrity throughout that process that honors his mother legacy? Walking in there, you can just kind of fall into their story. They are the pillar in the community. But you know, to really get the full story of Elsa's House of Sleep, you got to get the story of the Midway.

We are a very, very diverse community of folks who are here to be a part of our Midway area. We are midway between Minneapolis and St. Paul. You have Midway right there, right? It's a corridor for small businesses. You know, it's a lot of moms and pop shops. You know, the local folks right? And you go to those places because you feel connected or they're part of your community. To see people like me, see people who are trying to do stuff like me, it just feels good.

We don't have enough businesses within our community that support the way we spend money. So we go elsewhere. So building that infrastructure internally is key. The dream and the opportunity is not that we see just one business scale, but that we see multiple businesses begin to truly scale in a lot of different categories.

And the best thing that anyone who has a business can do to help people is to create jobs. BIPOC businesses hire predominantly BIPOC employees. They also tend to pay higher wages.

If 15%, just one-five. 15% of Black businesses hired one full-time employee, one additional full-time employee that would translate to $3 trillion to the GDP. - We would solve for the vast majority of the employment gap and the wage gap that exists across Black America. We want to increase employment in the Black community.

We want to do what we can on a micro level to close that gap. And if we all made it our mission to do so, then our communities would look very different. - And so it's really, really important that now, especially at this moment, as we are recovering from COVID. Yes, we are recovering from the civic unrest, that was, that happened to our business. That we come in as we would for a farmer in rural Minnesota, in greater Minnesota and help them out because the crops is down.

Yeah. This is the work that we have to do, right? Absolutely. - [Amanda] Elsa's has made it through a brutal 2020 without laying off a single employee, which is a testament both to the strength of the business and to Tetra's priorities as an owner. So our work here is not to save a struggling shop, but to help a neighborhood pillar grow and bring even more employees and their families under Elsa's roof. Maurice Blanks knows something about growing a furniture business, having taken Blu Dot from its headquarters in Minneapolis to now nine stores in three countries with more opening soon.

And to scale a business with this many moving parts, you have to build a solid foundation in technology. So our partners at Salesforce connected us with Shonnah Hughes, a specialist in customer relationship strategy. Hi guys! - Hey guys, how are you? - Good to see you. - Hi. - How are you? - Hi Maurice. - Tetra great to meet you.

Yeah nice to meet you. Come on this way. We sell sofas, we sell pictures, area rugs, mattresses. - Area rugs, mattresses. You probably sell a lot more items than you actually show in the store, right? Mmhmm.

So is that a big issue for you? To try to figure out how much you show and how much you don't show and what you show, right? That's always gotta be a constant struggle. That really is a big issue. Do you have, offsite storage somewhere that you have other product - Yeah. You can bring in? Definitely, so we have a warehouse that we lease nearby, and then we have some very dedicated warehouse and delivery drivers who really make this all happen. You're known for your customer service.

I feel like from a marketing perspective, we'll want to really play that up because it is a differentiator in the furniture industry. - When you think about the continuity between what's happening in store, and then what's happening online, is there anything that you've done, to really help that, bridge that gap or help that experience? - So we try to make different videos and post different things that are in the store. But it is a very hard thing because what's available to show online can be vastly different. Right. You know your community.

They want to feel that same way when they go and shop online. So connecting the two and bridging that gap, it's gonna bring in that personal experience. While Shonnah and the Salesforce team get to work on a customer relationship strategy, Maurice and I are going to be sitting down with Nneka and Tetra to talk about how Elsa's does business. So after the tour, are there any questions that come to mind Maurice? The first question I always have about a business is what makes it special? And just a little bit of time I've been here.

It feels like it is this really personal experience. You know this... It's been around for a long time.

It's been a part of the neighborhood. That's kind of like, okay, that's what you have as the core. So then it's sort of how do you build out from that and how do you scale it. - And that's the question I have, like, when you come in here, it's still very much like, oh, this is my budget.

What can you do? Is there a lot of negotiating? Yeah. Yeah. Well, that's really, the beauty of shopping with us is that we're gonna help with the price, however we can. He also is leaning on the legacy of his mother and the whole team has just picked up that banner and still want to kind of continue that.

So absolutely when you go to the rug section, these are the same rugs that you'll see across town for three and four times the price. Wow. - These things are something that I want to hold on to. As far as negotiating price and also offering layaway. And I want to maintain the flexibility to really help and connect with customers. - I have all the respect in the world for that.

So I think then we pivot to having to make up for that through volume. And one of the challenges that we have in this industry is people don't buy furniture every day, every month, every year. So you have to be building a new customer base that may not know who you are or what you sell.

That's where marketing comes in, right? Let's drive more business. I think we have two goals. One is kind of taking a look at how we level up the branding to make sure it's kind of modernized. And the second thing is we just have to really make your online presence work harder for you. And there are things that we can do right now to help you show up better online.

- You know, that actually makes sense. And also we really never had like a lot of money to really like upgrade the showroom too. So it would be really, really good to be able to upgrade the store. - And you cannot compete the internet for scale. So here you have the opportunity to do something different. How do you use the space that you have and can you make it more inspirational with vignettes? So it's room setting versus like specific function because nobody has eight dining room tables in their house.

- There is a balance to be struck between fulfilling our mission in the community, and also trying to balance the numbers and then trying to be profitable. - Now, we're gonna get together with everyone, the team and family, to just talk about honoring her legacy and still maintaining profitability and getting to the point where you level up. - Having gotten to know a little bit about Elsa's business. We have ideas about how to modernize the experience with the store and online, with the goal of adding to Tetra's loyal customer base. But we have to be careful because anything we try to change will be measured against practices that have worked for 25 years and continue to work.

So Baron, Maurice and I are sitting down at the creative lab to figure out the best next steps to take. - For me, it's all about the appearance for this one. Cause when you walk in and you just felt overwhelmed and cluttered and you're looking up and down.

I think it's next week, we're gonna go to Blu Dot for a tour. So I think that'll be interesting for all of us to see that and see what the comparisons are. There's also a lot we can do from the outside too, to be more noticeable.

- I want it to be like, yup, I just got to go over there to see what they got. What's new, you know what I mean? - Making sure that you're super findable online is gonna be vital too. We need to make sure that the story is coming through of how much the store has meant to that neighborhood.

It's so great to have these places that are just like people who've been here for like two generations, right? Like my parents bought from Elsa's and I'm gonna buy from Elsa's, so. I'm super excited. Marketing is going to be crucial. It's 25 years of survival. They know how to be resilient. But what I worry about is all that competition that continues to encroach.

Gentrification is a real thing. It's happening right now in that area. So Elsa's needs to stay.

Right now, currently I think the homepage is pretty standard. So now we can think about what pages to add, to help tell their story a little bit more. Cause that's missing on the site, right? Our marketing strategy here is built on a celebration of Elsa's history. That's one place, neither big box stores nor online retailers can compete. But there are some longstanding elements of the brand, like the logo, that the team at Deluxe thinks could benefit from an update. This is where we are today.

And I know this is a beloved mark and steeped in history and the legacy of your mom. And that's really important and that's not lost on us. So here's kind of a summation of where we've landed. In the upper left, that's pretty close to where you are. We have the oval, we have the type styles the same. And then below that we've made it more contemporary, fresh, a little more modern look.

Okay, so I have a question. We've been talking a little bit about the House of Sleep piece, right? Like the of sleep communicates more like the mattresses or beds, but that what you offer is so much more than that. Well, I've thought a lot about this and it can be Elsa's anything. It's just that I'm kind of like having a hard time letting go of the House of Sleep, because it's something that we've been known for, for 25 years. Mmhmm.

It's something that just swirls around my mind, like back and forth, you know, how are we gonna do this? Don't give this logo too much power or authority. It's gonna support everything you do. If you really want to keep the House of Sleep, we obviously are here to be a resource and to serve you and all of the options and where we've landed, has House of Sleep. This is where we're sort of at directionally right here.

Just sleep on it a little bit. We need to buy some time for Tetra to think, and for the Deluxe design team to take a few more cracks at Elsa's logo. So we're shifting gears to something a little more tactical working with Maurice McGregor and the team at Lenovo to upgrade the tech experience at the store.

We actually developed these in store displays so we can show a lot more things. Are you casting from your phone? We have a computer hooked up to this, but we haven't been able to step up our technology because we don't wanna make the wrong step and then not provide that same level of customer experience. I would guess that he probably has 5,000 items to sell and he probably has 150 on the floor. So he's gotta have something that he can show people.

And not only to show it to them, but actually kind of close it, you know, get to the point where they transact. With the tech overhaul underway. We're getting busy putting those Deluxe dollars to work inside the store.

But this is going to be a tricky renovation. COVID is still making its presence felt with a combination of broken supply chains and permitting delays. Plus the shop is big and we're trying to tackle only one side of it at a time so that Tetra can stay open while we work.

Just going back to my childhood. It's like, you know the furniture people, because everybody in the neighborhood are buying from them, right? They love their community. They've been here. How do you amplify and sustain a place like Elsa's and bring it into more, you know, a modern experience.

I would love to hear a little bit more about your technology needs. Well, we need all the technology that we can get. (laughing) So tell me about how you are managing your business operations right now? We have a very complicated, antiquated system. Okay. - We spend a lot of time following up on orders, and then there's a lot of different systems from all these different vendors.

Right Some vendors have as fax our order some vendors have us email the order. But you're their customer. - I'm their customer. - And you can dictate how you're distributing information to them. If you're choosing to work with vendors that are still on fax order systems, it's going to keep you out of the digital revolution.

You need a system that's flexible enough to be able to customize it to your unique needs. Change is difficult and you will have growing pains, but this is gonna help you grow and continue to satisfy your customers. For a business like Elsa's to go from a pen and paper method, to any technology like Salesforce that can help you identify your customers. It can be very scary. But if they decide to take the leap, it's going to propel them so far in the future. Tetra's biggest tech challenge is bridging the gap between what he can display at the store and the full range of inventory he actually has to offer.

Blu Dot's team has done an exceptional job of creating that infinite aisle, where customers move seamlessly between the physical and the virtual shop experience. So Maurice and Tetra are meeting up at the company's design headquarters to take a virtual tour of one of their hottest stores, Blue Dot Austin. So Jo, we talked before about how there's, you know, there's kind of the two big lanes in a furniture store are vignettes or categories.

Working with Maurice has been a very great collaboration, but even though we're both in the retail furniture business, we're very different. I have to really kind of say, what would what they're doing look like in our business. And that's the lens through which I have to see this through. So how do you design the workspaces for the team members in the store, helping the customer? So then you're actually able to process the sale from any laptop in the store. So Elsa's website needs to help existing customers navigate and purchase inventory, but it should also bring new customers into the store. And that means winning the search battle.

Let's do a Google test. How about if you search for your area rugs. Area rugs in St. Paul, Minnesota. So those are your competitors. We need to do better than them in order to show up there.

And then this is where the local listings are. So this is where we can really take advantage of because it's free. Searches have increased what, 600%? 600%. for Black-owned business. and so we want to make sure that that's in here. So when someone's looking, you show up.

Your current customers love you and they're never gonna shop anywhere else. So I, all of the marketing decisions, everything from your logo to how we're thinking about SEO and your website, all have to kind of be through new customer acquisition in terms of the strategies. So many of Deluxe's ideas are about incorporating technology into the customer experience. It's time to make sure Tetra has the gear he needs to execute on that strategy. So we're meeting back up with Maurice McGregor at the historic Penumbra Theater for a first look at the package Lenovo has built for Elsa's.

All right, so I know you guys have been talking to Maurice from Lenovo about some of your technology needs. So I'm pretty excited for you to finally meet him in person- - Hey! - and see what he has planned. Look at you, how are you? - Good to see you. - Good to see you!

- Tetra! - Man how are you? Good to see you man. - Good to see you as well. - Maurice how you doing sir? How are you? You know, one of the things we talked about was, you know, you're using some outdated equipment. So I'll tell you, I'll walk you through the things that we've have for you. These are 27 inch monitors along with the ThinkBook 14 for your in-store consultations.

So right now you have two, we're going to give you six of these. So obviously Ermias, Tetra's gonna expect an increase in business, right, so. (laughing) Of course. And this is my favorite piece of what we're giving you. When someone's at home and I'm walking around the showroom, showing an individual, certain pieces of furniture, the camera will follow me.

So it's like, we're engaging as we are right now. 14 households depend on that organization that, that business is running well. I can't wait to see how much they can do with the technology we provided them. And the vision they have already is solid. It's just that they just needed help. You get accidental damage protection.

If it's a hardware issue, we'll replace it. This is great. Thank you for presenting this to us and really listening to what we had to say. We spent the last few months exploring everything from branding and store layout to payroll and payment solutions, but we haven't yet taken a long look at the financial side of things. So we're meeting up with Nadine Seivert from US Bank for a deep dive into the numbers. Luckily Nadine is coming into the conversation with plenty of background on Elsa's House of Sleep.

All right, so I know you guys actually know each other. Tetra and I have had the pleasure of working together for almost a decade. About ten years. And so we've worked on this journey and this is what we want to do for small businesses, but something that a client could do at your place, right.

That they can't do at someone else's is, maybe negotiate the prices, right? Tell me a little bit more about that and how that's impacted your business. Well, I always see it as it's gotta be good on our end, and it's also gotta be great on the customer's end. You wanna have that two way street in building a relationship because that could be referral recommendation for somebody else. So I get that piece, but I'm also looking out for you as a business, and what does that mean dollars wise.

How much more money could you be making if we didn't have bottom line pricing or discounting? Yeah, it's quite a bit. It's also in restocking fees and potential layaway fees. What are the terms like for your layaway program? It's a six month term, but we will extend it to 12 months, as long as you're making regular payments.

There are some fees that I do implement. But it's not something that's broadly applied. I think about the other side. Well, what are some of the things that could be done if a layaway fee was broadly implemented? Because one of the goals Tetra has is to increase the bonus structure, not for himself, but for the employees. And maybe if these things were broadly applied, it may create an opportunity for some of those other benefits that are important to him as well.

But at the same time, there's things that happen in life. And we can't just, you know, stick the customer with a fee, if we can do something about it. Which is the beauty of being an entrepreneur, right? You have the flexibility to make the rules. So I think that's where an opportunity is for us is to dive in and see what do those numbers look like? So we're not saying get rid of the layaway. I think you should keep it. It's fantastic. But do we make it a 12 month layaway and understand that, how that's going to impact our orders and our inventory? Or do we stick to the six months? Right, so there's just a lot of opportunity there.

And it's really about diving into those numbers. You gotta respect Tetra's conviction. He's gonna take care of his customers, even if it comes out of his pocket, he does not budge on that. And he's built a healthy enough business to make that choice. But on a couple of other fronts, we're really hoping for a little movement.

Months long permit delays are still stifling progress on the renovations. But we're also holding on a big chunk of the rebrand work because 25 versions into the process, we're still trying to nail Elsa's logo. I've shown the logo to about 50 people and it's a dead heat between the old type set logo and the new type set logo. And I just really have to sit down and just think about it and just make a choice.

Thank you for meeting today. We are out of time on the brand and the logo. - Yes - And so I wanted to talk with you about kind of where your head's at. I know it's been a really, really hard decision. So which one right now are you leaning towards? I was kind of leaning towards this E right here and having it connected.

I'm still gonna keep the name the same, but as far as the branding and things, I'm very open to go Elsa's Furniture, Rugs, and Mattresses. I'm very open to that. Okay. When we're thinking about evolving branding and logos, it's all about kind of those marketing messages to certainly honor current customers, but it's about bringing in new customers.

I think it's been difficult to really change the logo and to make these decisions because we really do want to make sure to honor our mom's legacy, but really I think that she would be all for some changes. You can really feel how heavily Tetra carries the weight of his responsibilities to both his community and his mother started. But that sense of duty has served as Tetra's true north throughout the process. Now there's only one decision left to be made, and this one's gonna be easy.

Because we're talking about giving back to the community and that's something that Tetra and Nneka have been good at for a long time. We thought it would be really fun for Deluxe to give you $5,000 to pay it forward. Wow. Thank you. That's amazing. The one that comes to mind is Golden Thyme Coffee on Selby, and I've been going there for many years. And it's really not just a coffee shop, it's a cultural hub in the community.

They have a lot of conversations around racial healing. They host the Jazz Fest and they really use that as a means to really bring the community together. There's not many businesses where we could feel comfortable coming in and being our authentic selves. I think it's important, you know, to like recognize the people that are working so hard because the people who are closer to the problem are closer to the solution. With all the decisions made, everything is falling into place or almost everything.

While the marketing team at Deluxe races to finish Elsa's brand refresh, construction is still mired in permit and supply chain purgatory. So as Baron, Maurice and I get ready for one final visit to Elsa's, we'll unfortunately be returning to a business under construction, but as Shonnah said, the growing pains are temporary. It's the growth that lasts. Hey, how you doing? Great to see you. - How's it going - What's going on? - How are you? - Hello. Nice to see you.

So why don't you just walk us through what will be happening? Yeah, definitely. On this side of the store, we're gonna take the rugs off the wall. We're gonna replace them with these mood screens.

We're going to set it up more like vignettes. So we're gonna have little living room scenes and different types of things. However, we're also gonna have some more workstations to show customers a lot of different types of furniture virtually. I think, especially with all the Lenovo screens around, they can get some inspiration here, but then you can show them all the options.

I think it's gonna open everything up. I'm excited to see it. So here. I know you said vignettes on the other side, what happens here? On this side, we're going to market things more on categories, in order to get that hybrid experience. I feel like this process was able to bring the business plan to life and really help us start and finish projects that have kind of been on the back burner. We've been meeting regularly.

We've been talking about the branding, but today is as exciting. We get to show you how it all works in conjunction together. And the most important element was of course your new logo. So we have two different versions for you, places where you can continue to use House of Sleep and Elsa's. The other thing that was really important in the logo exploration was adding these descriptors, you're more than mattresses, that you're furniture rugs and mattresses.

I was a bit hesitant about making too much of a departure from that level. And then I decided to- Make the leap. Yeah to make the leap.

I really like it. I think it does a great job of bringing everything together. Even though it may seem small. It's really about your memories. It's the evolution of legacy. Absolutely.

So now you get to come along and create like another stamp that shows that you are the one that took the torch and it looks great. Let's talk a little bit about the outside of the building. You're gonna invest some of your own dollars to kind of unify the two buildings. We wanted to at least give you some ideas of how the new branding could be applied. As you're making decisions. This one actually uses the existing light boxes.

So it's gonna be the most affordable option. And then this adds a really fun kind of design element. I love it.

We are gonna make it happen. And one of the other places that we applied some branding is we work with 3M on creating a wrap for your delivery vehicles. When that pulls up in front of your house, like it's just reassuring, right? Like I made a good decision. I bought it from the right place. So I think it's awesome. All right. So let's talk a little bit about

promo and apparel. Baron, the bag. Whoa! All right the first item we have, let's just, it'll be like a grab bag.

All right, for your sales team. - Awesome. - I love it. - Fire. - Yeah, its great. Then we have a ladies cut. A women's cut.

Oh that's fire, I'll rock that. And we have got custom business cards. I am a fan. Has a story on the back. The 25 years serving the community. Full delivery and set up service.

Deluxe made you some pens, custom toasters that you can sell, you can give away to loyal customers. Just a great way to keep your brand in front. These are really great thank you cards that you can leave with every delivery and we've got your new price cards. Nice, I really liked these.

To have all this branding consistency, both across the front of the building and with all these kind of accessory pieces and the leave behind is that it elevates the brand. And then I know you've been working with Antea Group on the environmental and health and safety, and some of those costs that can be kind of sneaky, like your lighting and your efficiency in the space. So it's just gonna be really exciting to see where you take Elsa's next. Thank you. We have to keep operating our business in the right way, but then also evolving the brand at the same time. Deluxe was able to bring these two things together to really make it happen.

So you ready to see the new website? - Yes. - Yes. Wow. I love this.

This is well beyond my expectation. Wow, looks great. This is amazing.

So right now you're using a templated site that is meant for furniture stores. And that makes a lot of sense from an efficiency perspective. What Deluxe advice is just adding a new design layer, it's all content you had on the site before, we've just reorganized it in a way that just makes it much more clear. I love this picture. I do too.

Patrick, showing a rug that is a beautiful picture. It's a real employee with your real product. Right away we want to meet our team.

We want to talk about the fact that, you know, we're celebrating 25 years of service on this page alone. We have over 200 years of experience between everyone is also a differentiator and not something that the big box stores can claim. Man, they look awesome. Let me see Everybody's gonna love it.

Everybody's picture. Wow. Look how happy they are. That's a nice boss picture too. (laughing) Bossing out right there, huh? I was thinking about putting that picture way at the bottom. (laughing)

To have the look and feel of a custom built website that really reflects our brand really reflects who we are, but still to keep the functionality with having all the different feeds is amazing. Yeah. And I mean, there's a lot of complex feeds going on in back there and pricing and availability. And so to get both it's amazing.

Amazing. And this is the new about us story. Wow, so good.

She's beautiful. - I love it. - Thank you. We want to talk about the fact that Her legacy lives on in Elsa's House of Sleep and Tetra, her son, who now runs her business, the family business is in the business of family. Welcome to Elsa's House of Sleep. Aw, that's great. That is so nice.

Thank you. Yeah, it's really nice. Oh my goodness. To me this is like one of the best ways you can honor her legacy by creating, you know, more fruit, right, more life. I just think in that picture, it just says so much.

Now the only thing left to do is should we go pay it forward? Let's go pay for it forward. We've heard about Golden Thyme from so many different people across Minneapolis and St. Paul. Like Elsa's the coffee shop is a twin cities icon. And true to form Tetra and Nneka had put their back into helping this small business, adding a huge surprise of their own. - Hey! - Hi! Oh, good to see you guys. Nice to see you as well Absolutely, you guys looking great.

So Deluxe gave us the opportunity to highlight another business and we chose Golden Thyme. And it's a lot more than just highlighting you. Cause there's a whole lot more stuff involved.

I usually say, what are you talking about Willis? Yeah right. What you all doing man? Well, we have decided to gift this personal check from Deluxe by us to you. Man. (clapping) We have another surprise for you. Man, you guys. Neighborhood United Funding Collaborative wants to in collaboration with everybody here, provide you a grant for $30,000 to use for Golden Thyme.

We appreciate all the time you've been here in the community and holding it down in the Jazz festival. And you really, you guys deserve this. - Oh, man you guys are... - So thank you so much. (clapping) Back in the day when we opened up the place, a young group of kids came by and said, "Hey, what are you all putting there?" And we told them a coffee shop and they laughed. Well, here we are almost 22 years later. When the pandemic hit the wife and I were looking at each other, how are we going to survive? Now, we're gonna be here for a while longer.

There's so much negativity right now in this world. And if I could do my little part in making something better, I'm all there. Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode.

Deluxe is passionate about supporting small businesses and we are honored to bring the small business revolution home to Minnesota. For over 100 years, we've gotten to play a small part in the stories of entrepreneurs across the country and everything our team does on this show. We deal with thousands of businesses every day from brand building and payments to payroll and data solutions. We have the tools to help businesses big and small be at their best.

Because at Deluxe we believe when you champion businesses, entire communities thrive. To find out how we can help your small business go to deluxe.com. At US Bank, we believe small businesses are central to the culture, flavor, and personality of our cities and towns. They create jobs, foster economic growth and are critical to our community's success. Our passion for the small business community is why US Bank is excited to partner with Deluxe on the hit series Small Business Revolution. Sammy's Avenue Eatery is a vital community space in north Minneapolis.

North Minneapolis has been considered a food desert for as long as I can remember. And owner Sammy has his sights set on carrying the business's impact, even further. He created opportunities for kids. This ain't just no coffee shop.

Can the Deluxe Small Business Revolution team help him scale while staying true to his mission? We want to see great things happen in our community. So, I'm excited. On the next episode of Small Business Revolution.

2021-11-11 15:29

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