BRC Internship: Week 2

This week was busy, so I didn’t get the chance to post daily about what was going on at my internship. I’ll do a recap now about it…

On Monday, I sat down with Brad and Tom to talk about what we have been working on recently. I updated the guys on what I did with the blogger follow-up at the end of last week. I told them how I found the folder and saw that nobody followed-up with the people that we sent samples to, and proceeded to log the information in a spreadsheet and create personalized emails and surveys to send out. When I started on 6/21, 3,190 fans were on our Facebook page. By Monday, 6/28, we had around 3,210 fans (+20), partly because of my daily posting with questions, news articles, and other things to engage the fans. We are now averaging 10-20 comments per post on Facebook with around 75 interactions a week and as of today, we are at 3,258 fans (+48).

After the recap, Brad expressed that he wanted to switch my focus to getting more stores. I was told to contact the Whole Foods stores directly in the states of Arizona and California as well as a few in Florida and Massachusetts that we had leads to, thanks to our Facebook fans and the bloggers who reviewed us. I managed to contact four Whole Foods in Arizona, one in Florida (Miami Beach), and one in Massachusetts on Tuesday; sample boxes were packed and sent to them.

During the day, I discovered a page on the Whole Foods website which gave specific instructions to new vendors about submitting their products and samples to the regional offices first and not directly to the individual stores. There are hundreds of Whole Foods in America, including 59 stores in California alone, and it would not be feasible to call each and every one of them with a new product. There are regional grocery buyers (RGB) assigned to each region, and it was my assignment to use that contact information about the regional offices to find out information about the grocery buyers and hopefully send samples. Most specifically requested to contact them via email or leave a voice mail regarding new vendors and products, so that’s what I did.

Again, a majority of the day was spend working on the Whole Foods regional office information. When I was done getting the RGB information from all of the regions, I created a summary of what I did and listed the contact info that I found. A total of three regions were sent sample boxes while all the others were contacted and would be followed up on in a few days.

On a side note, my experience working with the Census is actually coming in handy when it has come to cold calling these stores these past few days. As it turns out, calling stores all over the country and pitching a product has been much easier than calling homes in my area and asking people to fill out their Census forms. I can tell that my phone skills have gotten better because, while I wasn’t too bad in the first place, I am considerably more confident than I was a month ago with speaking on the phone with people that I don’t know. That is a great skill to have and improve on. If all else fails, I know I could always be a telemarketer… :wink:

After all of the regional office information was gathered and we reached out to the RGB’s (we had replies from some already), I was told to make a list of only the Mid-Atlantic stores that we are not in. The list ended up being about 20-30 stores, and I called each one of them to get information for future reference so we can send out samples. I also made a spreadsheet with competitor information and ended up getting a client list from one company with 56 potential leads for new stores.

Day off to take care of some personal things. I needed to go to Rider to figure out some financial stuff, i.e. how the hell I am going to pay for the summer class that starts on July 6 and what book I need for the class (which I am going to definitely have to buy, since it is an online class and I will probably be teaching myself a lot of the material.) It should have been a relaxing day, but actually wasn’t because I was out for the majority of the day, running errands and taking care of things.

I was back at work today and completed quite a few tasks. I entered the info from those 56 stores into a spreadsheet; edited a page on the website to add the blogger testimonials and links; created Squidoo pages for Brad and a few of the chip varieties; made sure everything was correctly tagged in the blog, Youtube, etc.; and posted to Twitter and Facebook, as always.

I was happy to hear that they are shutting the company down for the weekend and giving everyone off on Monday, since the 4th of July is on a Sunday this year. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to a three-day weekend. I don’t know what I am going to be doing yet to celebrate the 4th, aside from going to my friend’s party tomorrow night, but I would like to find some fireworks to go to and maybe hit up the beach. (I know the beach is going to be super crowded, though, so I probably won’t go there after all. :frown:)

With that said, I hope everyone has a happy, safe Fourth of July holiday weekend!!