I have a story for you today that is so packed full of business lessons that it’s like a well made eccles cake.
I’m heading down to the coast this weekend. We’ve got a house in Southwold in Suffolk and we’ve been going for the last 10 years. It’s an odd little place, very quiet until the holidays come and then it’s rammed with folks there to enjoy the sea air and spend their money in the puzzling array of shops that the town holds.
But it is two shops in particular that always get me thinking, both bakers.
Southwold has had a bakery for as long as I have been there and well before that too. It’s nice enough. It sells what bakers sell and for plenty of years it has done alright. Each time I visit I make the morning trundle along the sea front and into the warm interior to buy a bag load of pastries for breakfast.
Or at least I did until about 3 years ago when an impostor arrived.
Despite the town already having a bakery (and 2 supermarkets that also sell bread) someone decided they wanted a piece of the pie and set up the 2 Magpies Bakery. Cue lots of local people chortling into their pints talking about the amount of money they would lose because the town already had a bakery.
Even the existing bakery itself seem unconcerned, they did nothing to secure their own customer base and just sat and waited to see what would happen…
And of course what actually happened was the new bakery cleaned up. They offered something new and absolute perfect for the market and as such now even the locals head to 2 Magpies before they head to the long existing bakery.
These places are literally 20 yards apart across a road. Yet one is always rammed busy and the other has misted up windows because the door never opens.
A few months ago when I was there, Storm Katie wreaked her wet and miserable havoc, people queued outside the new bakery waiting for it to open despite the fact that less that a cricket pitch away there was a nice warm haven that sold what they wanted to buy and at a fraction of the price.