The fledgling business tried different sales tactics but found their biggest success in the online market. With growing sales, the business expanded out of the garage and into a full-scale pro- duction facility with multiple machines to customize the cups and other products. “High-speed offset machines allow us to do multi-colour jobs with much faster production. The screen printing is ideal for smaller jobs, with a minimum as low as 100 cups for smaller events,” Lombardi detailed. The Cup Store now sells their customized products across Canada and into the US, with ship- ments going across the border daily. Even with the expansion, The Cup Store continues to be very much a family-based business. “We like to keep that culture alive in the company. We’re very hands on and very involved. We have over 25 employees and know them all personally.” The culture at The Cup Store is about open doors and regular communication. Lombardi is involved in every aspect of the business on a daily basis. “The expectation in the company is that quality and customer service comes first. I convey this to the staff all the time. You’re speaking for the owner. We speak to the customer through you.” The company is known for honoring special or last-minute requests. “I can’t tell you how many cup emergencies there are. People forget about it or have a last-minute request. We take every rush request we can possibility manage.

The Cup Store focuses on custom printing for small to medium sized businesses, however, anyone can order their product. Individuals can order cups for private events and wholesale pricing is available for re-sellers of promotional products. “Our challenge was getting into the online shopping market with something as customized as ours. Last year, we were able to launch online basic products that people could order as customized. We are seeing a big chunk of customers happy to go through the online ordering service,” said Lombardi. Blank stock can also be ordered. One business opportunity that has recently emerged has been the festival business. “Everybody is taking pictures of food and drinks at festivals and celebrations and posting on social media. That advertis- ing reach goes much further than just the people standing in front of you at an event. You can get a lot of visibility with a cup,” said Lombardi. The Cup Store also offers custom printed glassware. “The craft brewery industry has been a good partnership for us. Glassware for taprooms is huge. Because we can do the small volume needed, we have been able to penetrate that market. Beer is our big market,” said Lombardi. The customer base for The Cup Store is wide and varied, from businesses looking for marketing avenues to anyone getting ready for a party. “All kinds of independent coffee shops, bakeries, weddings, law and dental offices, small businesses, personal birthday parties, the list is endless. They’re all customers looking for small volume.” Lombardi uses her marketing skills and experience to help customers make the best selections for their business needs. “When I started this business, I was the one dealing with all the customers and answering phone calls. I really enjoyed that part of the business and of my daily job. It became more of a consulting service, helping customers market themselves and achieve their goals. Customers call and don’t know necessarily what they are looking for and what they need. A small bakery, for example, may not have a lot of storage room so we help them tailor a plan that will work for them and help them grow their business. That’s the enjoyable part of this job.” “Every customer is unique and every customer has their own story. We have customers who started out with us ten or twelve years ago. There’s a huge satisfaction in knowing that you’re helping the customer or helping a business to grow.”

“ We work with the client. Our flexibility has given us the opportunity to grow.”




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