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Junior’s Cheesecakes, From Brooklyn to San Francisco Through Cyberspace

When I interviewed Kevin Rosen of Junior’s Cheesecake here in NYC it was to ask him what he and his family want the Internet to do for them and their business.

I met Kevin when he appeared on a panel of business owners taking their companies online, sponsored by Crains Publishing Company at its annual Expo.

In fact I interviewed over 50 successful long established Main Street companies, asking many of the same questions that I asked Kevin. I was looking for the common denominator, the two or three reasons that all mentioned for taking their otherwise successful traditional company online.

And I got them!

Each of them told me that in one way or another in order to increase their market share. Junior’s, located since 1950 in Brooklyn had just opened a Manhattan outlet in Grand Central Terminal. While he was already reaching out into their existing geographical market Kevin had much bigger plans to extend their market reach nationally if not international.

Kevin, President of Junior’s, and grandson of Harry Rosen, is the third generation of the family to be involved in the business. When ex-Brooklynites, some living as far away as California, started calling Kevin and asking him to mail them cheescakes, he knew Junior’s was ready for national exposure.

And they want to use technology to help them grow their bottom line by enhancing the customer Service, increasing productivity, reducing costs, and having at least a part of their business operating 24 hours a day seven days a week. He began by computerizing back office operations, and continues to champion state-of-the-art solutions for the family business, ultimately putting Junior’s in cyberspace.

Kevin believes that the two most important functions of the web site are to generate sales growth and to increase brand awareness. In that spirit, the new site focuses primarily on e-commerce.

Twelve different specialty cheescakes are offered, as well as gift certificates and collectibles. Users have the capability of creating their own personal address book on the site, so repeat orders and gift-giving can be handled in a mouse-click, and orders can be easily tracked from the site.

Placing an order on their web site is as easy and perhaps more convenient than walking into the store or using the 800-number. This ease of entry is crucial to bringing customers back to the site again and again.

With approximately 5000 cheescakes selling every week, it is clear that Junior’s Cheescakes has the recipe for success.

We published their profile just over two years, they were early adopters in their industry. Now there are many people who have jumped on this bandwagon – yet Junior’s maintains its advantage by continuing to evolve its strategy.

In addition to having their story published on our web site, where it receives consistent daily traffic from Internet searchers, they were used as an example of “Best Practices” in the book, “Doing It Right, Realizing Your Company’s Potential” that we published in 2003 and have recently made available on our web site at no charge.

Now, we’re looking for another batch of business owners whose story to tell.

Were going to be asking some of the same questions, two years later, in order to complete our research on the adaptation of the Internet by traditional mainstream businesses. And there will be other questions designed to help us tell the stories of Main Street companies developing strategies for continued success in the 21st Century.

The new profiles will also be posted on our web site and some of them will be selected as part of the content in one of the two books we have in process.

Based on our experience doing these interviews we’ve dramatically streamlined the process for this next round. The process is straightforward and will require very little of the person being interviewed, beyond the time were on the phone together.

There is a page entitled Submit a Profile linked to every pay each of our web site (top right). If you or someone you know is interested in exploring the idea of telling their story, I believe you will find the information you need there.

Wayne Messick wants to interview business owners positioning themselves for success in the 21st Century. Click here for cutting edge leadership strategies for your business.