As part of a regular series here at the FiveStars blog, we’ll take a look at some of our clients who have achieved success with our one-stop loyalty reward program. We’ve seen proven results for some time – now, we’d like to share them with you to give you a better idea of how implementing our program can help you acquire, grow, and retain your customer base and ultimately, improve your business. At the very least, we hope you will pick up a few tips from these superstar small business owners!
What do you get when you cross a self-serve yogurt cafe and an ultra cool lounge?
The answer is exactly what Charlie and Zach Navar had in mind when they opened up Craze in El Paso, Texas. When the two first came up with the idea for Craze four years ago, there was a huge hole in El Paso’s frozen yogurt industry. In fact, they were the first to bring self-serve frozen yogurt to the city! Charlie and Zach wanted to create a fun and cool space where people could hang out while enjoying some frozen yogurt and beverages. I recently had some time to speak with Charlie and learn more about his journey with Craze.
With its stainless steel accents and LED lights, Craze is an entirely unique frozen yogurt store and an experience all in itself (some customers even mistake it for a drinking lounge!). Don’t be fooled by the chic decorations, though – Charlie admits he had some trouble in the beginning with moderation. With the freedom to design his business however he wanted, he found himself being swept up with all the fancy options he had. He quickly realized, however, that there is a point when it all becomes too much. Today, each of Craze’s three locations has a decidedly modern feel to it that isn’t at all over-the-top.
“It’s not just a business, it’s my life.”
Charlie prides himself on being 110% involved with his business every single day. He doesn’t take any days off, and as a result of his hard work, Craze has become more and more a part of the local community. Despite the lounge atmosphere of Craze, Charlie is insistent on giving customers a really great personal experience. To other small business owners just starting out, Charlie recommends making sure you are doing what you love. Although Craze comes with its challenges (and even crazier hours!), he doesn’t mind at all because he loves it. He loves that every morning he can wake up, go to work and be with his employees and customers.
Charlie’s favorite part of running Craze is seeing all the smiles he gets every single day. As he is quick to point out, “Nobody is ever mad that they’re going to get a frozen yogurt!” He enjoys seeing the satisfaction on people’s faces when they get their yogurt and take that first bite. He sounds extremely proud (and dare I say, maybe even a little relieved?) when he tells me that he doesn’t have to deal with angry customers.
Craze’s FiveStars Story
Because Craze has such a strong presence on social media, the business doesn’t engage in much print advertising. One of the best advertising channels Craze has is actually FiveStars! Charlie’s FiveStars story is quite unique in the fact that he has a personal connection to a FiveStars founding member, Jeff Doka: Jeff’s mother actually told Charlie’s aunt about FiveStars first, and he called in to inquire about being a beta tester. From there, the rest is history! Today, Craze has one of the highest FiveStars user counts in the entire country. Charlie finds the program really easy to use, and says the AutoPilot feature is his favorite because it can identify for him which customers are frequent visitors and which are at-risk. And of course, he loves that FiveStars has a bit of El Paso roots in it as well!
Facing the Competition
Before long, Charlie began to face a problem that most small business owners come across: fierce competition from large companies moving into town. Although these larger yogurt companies were initially very aggressive, Charlie vowed to simply focus on his own business and not return the aggression. He even offered to help those yogurt stores when they first opened shop. Despite all the competition that has popped up in El Paso, Charlie is very optimistic about Craze’s future. Armed with three existing stores and a mobile unit that visits community events, Craze is certainly not closing its doors anytime soon. When asked what the future holds for Craze, Charlie confidently tells me that he plans to open even more stores and one day nationalize his business. Given the fan base Craze has accumulated, we at FiveStars don’t doubt him for a second! ■