In 2018 Ryan Nesci and Carey Timony opened Amici Food + Beverage Co., a specialty bakery and grocer located in Sudbury, Ontario. Amici specializes in prepared foods and low-carb, low-sugar baked goods, and has now expanded into two thriving locations with 15 employees. Here we speak to Nesci about running his stores, how Square solved his inventory management issues, and the customer experience at Amici.
On running a specialty grocery store
My father has owned a butcher shop for over 35 years, so I grew up around the food business. I think my dad had a big influence on my career choice. Amici is a specialty grocery store, and our co-owner and baker, Carey Timony, focuses on allergy-friendly and gluten-free baking. She has celiac disease, which informed that choice, and now we tailor orders to accommodate other dietary needs. She takes care of all of that, and I take care of the business side of things and day-to-day operations. I make sure our shelves are stocked with exciting specialty grocery items, focusing on gluten-free, low-carb and low-sugar options. It’s worked out well for us that it’s become really trendy for people without any food sensitivities to cut down on gluten and carbs. We do a lot of custom birthday and wedding cakes. My favourite thing about my job is that every day is different, it keeps things interesting.
On switching to Square to improve inventory management
We were so excited to open our second location, but expanding creates a lot of challenges for any operation. We had been using another provider to run the business, but there were too many limitations for what we needed. Our marketing manager, Bailey Patry, was frustrated with the other provider’s marketing and loyalty options, which she found limited. And managing multiple stores wasn’t possible with them, because we didn’t have the option of choosing from which location an item would be taken from when customers ordered online. That messed with our inventory management. And with this provider, we’d have to call customer support every few weeks to fix issue after issue. We would sell items online that weren’t even available. It was too much troubleshooting, which was tedious and consumed a lot of time I could have spent focusing on the growth of the business.
Once we switched to Square, managing our inventory across locations was so much easier. Now when someone places an online order, we can decide which store will fill it. Square for Retail gives me back so much of the time I used to spend troubleshooting with our previous provider.
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On the customer experience at Amici
When a customer walks into Amici, I want them to feel like they are part of the family. We try to make sure we greet every customer, and we want to be very accessible and approachable to them. If our customers need or want a product or brand that we don’t have, we are happy to try and source it for them. That kind of personal touch makes a difference, especially when we’re out here competing with the big guys.
Our customers often come to us because they are going to celebrate a milestone occasion, like a birthday or a wedding, and that’s really special, to be a part of that. We’re using Square Loyalty and Square Marketing now, and these tools let us automate communications about offers, customize email campaigns and create special birthday offers for our loyal customers.
We use Square Registers to serve our customers in store, and I was also looking for a portable POS so I could sell at farmer’s markets. Square Reader is just what I needed. The customers are familiar with the hardware and feel comfortable using it.
Excellent customer service is very important to us, and Square has really helped us up our game when it comes to providing a pleasant, uncomplicated experience for Amici shoppers. Everything is running smoothly now.