HELPING BRANDS GET INTO CUSTOMER’S HANDS by Anita Flowers THE CUP STORE
“Nobody wakes up and says I’m going to start printing on cups. It was almost by accident. I had a customer I was working on with promotional products looking for a smaller volume cup order. Through that research we discovered there was a hole in the market. Nobody in Canada was doing this type of printing at that time,” said Lombardi. The Lombardis started by putting together a small website to test the response for the product. “To our happiness and pleasure, we discovered there was actually a huge need for a small order service of custom printed cups. Various suppliers were doing that in the US, but for Canadian cus- tomers, there were issues such as getting things across the border, the fluctuation of the dollar plus duty fees in ordering from the US.” They invested in a printer, the size of a large refrigerator, and began printing cups out of their garage. Capitalizing on their combined strengths, her husband’s technical skills and her own marketing skills, the Cup Store opened in 2005. “It was a home-based business with the printer in the garage. I was answering all the sales calls. The kids were climbing over boxes. That’s how we got off the ground.”
A re you a neighborhood coffee shop, social house or craft brewer? Maybe you are a local business trying to get exposure or looking to add value to a sponsorship opportu- nity for an upcoming event. Regardless of the industry that you are in, one thing is true for most business owners, they want to be seen and heard, by customers. And what better way to get your brand into the hands of customers than with a custom cup? We chat with the folks from The Cup Store back at the end of summer to get a better understanding of how they help business- es everyday increase their brand exposure and grow their business, one cup at a time. It all started when Robin Lombardi was research- ing products for a customer. While working in the promotional products industry fifteen years ago, she began searching for customizable dis- posable cups that could be printed for a smaller volume order. She found large volume suppli- ers but none in Canada that could print smaller volumes. That empty search became the spark for The Cup Store. After earning her MBA, Lombardi had worked in sales and marketing. Her husband, an engineer, managed a team of tech support staff. Both were interested in entrepreneurial ideas and had worked together for a short time in the promo- tional product industry, when Lombardi discov- ered the market for cups.
“It was a home-based business with the printer in the garage. I was answering all the sales calls. The kids were climbing over boxes. That’s how we got off the ground.”
“Nobody wakes up and says I’m going to start printing on cups.”
DECEMBER 2020 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • DECEMBER 2020
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