Niche Marketer Fishes for Jerky Customers

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Duluth, GA –

Paul Johnson: I’m talking with Rick Jones, and I’m intrigued by the incredible niche market that Rick has found. Rick, what business are you in?

Rick Jones: We are in the specialty food retail business. We focus mainly on beef jerky. Beef jerky, really any kind of jerky. A lot of game jerky, beef jerky and turkey jerky.

Paul: Wow. I was impressed because I saw a billboard along a major interstate here with the Beef Jerky Store, and I thought, “There’s somebody who must know his business.” So, from your perspective, Rick, what are the advantages of selecting a tightly focused niche market like beef jerky to build a business in?beef_jerky_billboard

Rick: I guess, you get real expertise and there’s a very small kind of a niche both in the wholesale companies that supply us, there’s other outlets sort of like us, but it keeps you focused. And also, your marketing is easier to get your demographic. People who would like beef jerky is typically a male, you know, kind of an outdoorsman who’s looking for a portable protein snack that they don’t have to worry about spoilage or anything like that.

Paul: Perfect. In getting into this business, most people tend to go for broad outlets like food stores or sporting good stores. You picked something very tightly focused. What gave you the courage to invest in such a narrowly focused business?

beef_jerky_wallRick: Well, I would love to say that I had the epiphany myself, when actually it seems another gentleman that had one of these and introduced us to another group that have several of them in the Michigan area. But we had seen it perform and could do some research on business volume, profitability and we felt like it was, just like you, a really neat niche to go into.

Paul: So you were able to do some research and get some statistics and develop a plan around your demographics, how many there were and what the market potential was before you ever jumped in?

Rick: Right, that’s correct.

Paul: Great! And, it’s nice that there was somebody in another state who was doing a little pioneering effort for you as well, I guess.

Rick: M-hmm. That’s right.

Paul: What advice, Rick, might you have for someone who’s looking for a market to expand into?

Rick: Advice? I would say one thing the niche market does give us, I said easier marketing. And, what marketing entails for us is location. Location seems to be the most critical element with a niche. Your audience has to be pervasive wherever you are. All of our three stores are located directly outside Bass Pro Shops.

Paul: Wonderful.

beef_jerky_facadeRick: That’s sort of a draw for us. The first store we put in was kind of a done without any planning as far as location goes, we were looking more at the lease expense than we were at the advantages of something that’s more expensive but closer to the mall and a Bass Pro Shop.

We found out it’s worth the investment to get the location that your customers will be traveling back and forth in front of you.

Paul: Right.

Rick: People that will see the beef jerky sign and go, “Wow, I’ve got to check that out.”

Paul: And you’re right on the way to the Bass Pro Shop, and we know people come from all around, from out of state and hundreds of miles away just to visit Bass Pro Shops.

Rick: Right.

Paul: Well done!

Rick: We get people from South Carolina, Tennessee. All come down here just to shop here.beef_jerky_stand

Paul: Beautiful. Rick, thanks for your helpful insights and I wish you the best of luck at the Beef Jerky Outlet. How would people contact you if they wanted to know more about your store?

Rick: Actually, calling my cell number is really the best way to contact. And we do a lot of shipping. Right now we just do it over the phone. But, we’re happy to ship it anywhere. The number is 865 680 4692.

Paul: Perfect. Thanks, Rick, for all your insights. I really appreciate that.

Rick: All right. Thanks for talking.

Comments (0) Mar 02 2009