When Matt Swank purchased Lena’s Pizza in Fredonia, New York, his first challenge was dealing with the brand’s legacy, while wanting to put his own mark on the business.
“We faced the challenge of making sure our existing customers knew we were keeping the product the same historical product for which we had become known,” he told Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine. “However, we also wanted to add our own touch to some new menu items.”
To help direct him on the right path, Swank found a fairy godmother of sorts in Amanda Brinkman, chief brand officer of Deluxe Corporation, when the opportunity arose to participate in Small Business Revolution, a reality series that helps small businesses across America. The fifth season spotlighted Fredonia as a team of marketing experts from Deluxe helped a group of small businesses in the upstate New York village rework their business models to combat the pandemic.
“Small Business Revolution wasn't an opportunity that I could pass up,” Swank said. “The excitement of working with a professional marketing team for a chance to lift my business to a new level was one of the main driving factors. The Small Business Revolution team helped us reach and maintain the current customer base while also bringing new customers through our doors.”
Brinkman, who hosts the program, said the series started as a way for the company to support small businesses in a unique manner.
“We look for what we can do to help a business be more successful,” she said.
Some of the things they worked on with the Lena’s team included updating technology for better operations, cultivating a digital presence with a refreshed logo and creating a design to withstand social distancing guidelines.
And the result?
Despite the pandemic, Lena’s is currently experiencing the busiest year in its history, which allowed Swank to open a second location and plan for a third. Eventually, he wants to explore franchising to expand even further.
“With limited restaurant options for the public, we have experienced much higher demand for our product,” he said. “We have been very fortunate to stay open, but I wanted to find a way to build on the increased demand we are experiencing to create jobs for those who may be out of work. Expansion was the best way to achieve this goal.”
Brinkman added: “It’s great to see the small-town pride and inspiring before-and-after stories. I feel very blessed to work up and close with these businesses to help optimize their business models.”