How Does A Small Business Grow In This Economy?

4 Nov

Panaderia Chuy on Ohlen Road.

I wish I had some amazing insight, tip or trick to give you in this blog, but I don’t.  All I can say is that I’ve got the most amazing case study next door to my house.

When Panaderia Chuy opened it was evident, this place was special.  It’s a traditional Mexican bakery that delivers the scent of fresh bread to my front door daily.  This alone is great marketing.  But honestly, I’m not their target audience.  I realized this the first time I visited.  I was confused about the drill that everyone else seemed to know about: grab a tray, grab some tongs and start filling up your silver platter.

But here’s the thing, this place is slammed.  Mornings before 7:00 am there are tons of cars there.  Evenings after 7:00 pm the place is still hopping.  Business is so well that they recently expanded.  You heard me, a small mom and pop business just added on.

So what’s their secret?  I have no idea!  But the one thing I can say is that they have created and maintained a following.  I have one friend who makes special trips from across town to pick up pastries at Chuy’s.

I’m curious, why do you think this business, that you’ve probably have never heard of , is expanding and developing a strong following in a struggling economy?

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5 Responses to “How Does A Small Business Grow In This Economy?”

  1. Cribit71 November 4, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    I am familiar with this bakery you speak of as I also live near there. I have no idea why it’s expanding, but I concur with your assessment. It’s flooded with cars at all times of the day and evening. This place is hopping!!! As a non-hispanic I do not prefer the type of food and pastries they profer. But I still visit there for two reasons. 1) The location is prime. They are the only bakery/coffee establishment within at least a mile radius (I can walk there) and 2) with their most recent expansion I can walk there, grab a cup of mediocre coffee, and, the best part, sit outside on one of many cafe tables, and people watch.

    I speculate that they have a corner on the market in this neighborhood and are successfully selling a blend of traditional Hispanic products (tacos, pastries, pinatas, etc.) with a blend of “coffeeshop” fare (coffee drinks, WiFi, outdoor cafe seating, etc.) and that is an exact fit for the stereotypes that inhabit our neighborhood.

  2. MNevin November 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    We stumbled upon Panaderia Chuy a few years ago. I must admit, I was the one that was most excited. I grew up in South Texas and longed for a Mexican bakery up on the North side. My aunt told us about some good panaderias down south, but on Sunday mornings you want/need these pastries as soon as you can get them. Panaderia Chuy was the first place I’d bee in Austin that reminded me of home.

    Our first visit was in the afternoon, just a few of the locals grabbing what they needed for a snack. Our next visit was on a Saturday or Sunday morning. We were stunned by the line that was forming. Families were standing in line with empty trays/baskets, no one was looking at the baked goods that were in the cases. At first I thought it was the checkout line, then we realized they were waiting for the fresh+hot bolillos (a roll similar to french bread). This was a sign we definitely needed to return. After seeing the new expansion, I knew we were right about this place.

    • carieh November 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

      How did you find Panaderia Chuy? I live next door and scent led me there. Was it an ad, word of mouth or something else?

  3. josem November 8, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    I like this place because it reminds me of when I was a kid growing up. I have found memories of my Dad bringing home maranitos (little pig-shaped gingerbread cookies) on Sunday mornings. It was even better when I got to go and pick them out myself. I’m sure I am a little biased, if anything just for the nostalgia of the whole experience. It’s local, its cheap and they have good pan dulces (sweet breads) and decent coffee. I don’t think their target audience is exactly the grande-nonfat-latte-Startbucks crowd anyway. I probably wouldn’t go there just for the coffee, or to sit and read, or to surf their wifi, but it serves its purpose for me…a comfort food/treat that reminds me of home.

    • carieh November 8, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

      I had to pull some of a review for you, it made me laugh and showed just how enthusiastic patrons are of this place.

      From Yelp:
      Sweet Jesus It’s been a long time since i have had to take a step back and belt out a unclejessie “LORD HAVE MERCY” but this place is sacred. I wouldn’t be surprised nuns come here to worship the mounds of yeasty sainthood that frolick from behind these glass doors.

      O.G. mexican patries that my grandmother would vouch for, (and she has been known to yell profanities in spanish at small indigenous mexican women in grocery stores for not being on their game) *something along the lines of “go back to the mountains where you came from”* mean I know, but you let a four foot eight 89 year old mexican woman do pretty much damn well what she pleases.

      Anyways take your 4’8” 89 year old mexican grandma there to stock up on sweet pastries she can feed to her friends while they play canasta and the ones they don’t finish, you can take back to your hippy friends’ house so they can hulk out on cream cheese filled bright red strawberry jam cocunut rolled pastries while they cross knives on the stove, and listen to JerryBand rock the Fillmore in ’73 and play a mean ass cover of “it takes a lot to laugh it takes a train to cry” and then ask you to take care of their dog for a few days while they go back to Oregon to “hit up the summer festies”

      Read in it’s entirety: http://www.yelp.com/biz/chuy-bakery-austin

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