There are lots of good frozen-yogurt shops in Simon Glickman’s Pasadena, California, neighborhood. But one—21 Choices—seems to enjoy bigger crowds than the rest, and he explains in his Editorial Emergency newsletter how the small storefront keeps customers coming back from more:

  • It delivers plenty of atmosphere. Unlike most corporate chains, the environment is quirky and inviting—multiple television screens flicker with cooking shows and vintage cartoons while the teenage staff “sing and shimmy” to a Motown soundtrack.
  • It makes customers feel valued. When the line moves slowly, staffers require no coaxing to hand out samples, genuine apologies and coupons for free yogurt. If it turns out you don’t like a flavor combination, they’ll replace it without charge, and Glickman’s wife once received an extra scoop because an employee liked her sock-monkey key chain.

“But the company’s service ethic goes much further,” notes Glickman, “and this is where you should put down your Snickerdoodle Swirl and pay particular attention.”

Simply put, 21 Choices excels at thinking in terms of community:

  • Personalized touches include a poster by the front door that lists regulars by name.
  • Since customers care about environmental issues, the shop made the switch to biocompostable cups and spoons. “A handmade sign explains that this move has added to their overhead and resulted in slightly higher prices,” he says. “No one seems to mind.”

“No matter how much money and resources are allocated to make a business like this fit into a community, there’s no substitute for earnestly getting to know and embracing that community.”

Source: Editorial Emergency.