The Downtown Strong: Building Resilient Economies grant is a grant provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration through Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) that continues to impact Missouri communities.
Photos pictured above are featured on Mississippi Mutts website.
Mississippi Mutts is a local small business with a large and loving customer base. They offer niche bakery items, in-store washing stations, an outdoor activity area, and other niche services. They share on their website that, “Mississippi Mutts is a pet supply store, handmade treat bakery, and sudsy solution for furry family members. Located in downtown Cape Girardeau, we aim to be ‘your dog’s home away from home’,” but if you know Sherry Jennings and her staff, you know they are more than just a store! When reading their reviews, the word “love” pops up a lot and that is because they love their customers (both human and furry), their community, and what they do. The reverse is also true as their customers (human and furry) love them too!
The Mississippi Mutts' staff creatively approaches business through developing partnerships, events, and opportunities to engage with the community. One always active relationship that they have is with Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) Marketing students. The SEMO students often helped Mississippi Mutts’ owners with marketing and their website.
Despite these strengths, like many businesses during the pandemic, Mississippi Mutts experienced some challenges. They offer great products and services, but without an integrated ordering system it consumed too much time to answer calls for booking in-store activities and ordering products. Meaning they spent a good portion of their time manually managing website orders rather than doing what they valued and loved the most, having interactions with their patrons in-store. The assistance from their great partnership with SEMO Marketing students helped them get to this point, but they realized they needed to be more strategic in their marketing to expand their customer base, and they needed a website integrated some types of online sales and orders.
Photo pictured above is featured on Mississippi Mutts website.
Missouri Main Street Connection brought in Dana Thomas with BOLD Marketing to facilitate the services they were awarded through the Downtown Strong: Building Resilient Economies grant. During the consultations, Dana helped Sherry and her staff realize how they could become more efficient, increase sales, and diversify their customer base. Dana helped them develop a new website (https://mississippimutts.com/) that better promotes their in-store line of products, services, events, and activities. Excitingly, the site now allows for custom ordering of bakery items that celebrate things like gotcha days, birthdays, and weddings. During the development of the website, Dana gave the staff training and instructional documents as guides to make sure they could maintain the site into the future.
Dana didn’t stop there. The website also integrated a newsletter feature that utilizes MailChimp to streamline communications with customers and promote events and in-store specials. The MailChimp email platform was implemented with three email templates for future customer communications. One of which targets a new audience to capture as a customer base, SEMO students. Social media ads were also developed to push higher margins and core service opportunities such as bathing stations, customer orders, general products, and weddings, while also moving event attendance.
This combination of services provided by BOLD helped streamline custom order operations, while the email blasts and social ad strategies moved their customer base for growth both online and in-store. A “pawsitively perfect” strategy.
The services included in this article were prepared by Missouri Main Street Connection, Inc. using Federal funds under award 05-79-06056 from Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.