Chiarello said he personally believes in being socially responsible. He does this by marketing fair trade coffee. “I think we have to do little things,” he said.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS GROWS
The duo also believe that environmental issues are becoming more important to many customers, hence, the organic coffees. They are also introducing a “green” catalog. One of their customers recently moved to a new facility that meets “green” building standards. They also noted that their private label roaster, Empire Coffee Co., is providing non-bleached boxes.
Classic Coffee Systems has also found a demand for espresso-based drinks in some offices. For this, they use the Lavazza Espresso Point machines.
While single cup has given the business new vitality, allied products are keeping pace with the growth, thanks to a barrage of cold beverage innovations in recent years. While the company has always been cognizant of the demand for cold beverages, customer tastes have become more diverse.
Coca-Cola Breakmates have been retired, but point-of-use water systems are more popular than ever. Classic Coffee Systems offers both purified and spring water. The 5-gallon bottles also remain popular, but the delivery for these has been outsourced.
Chiarello and Malizio have paid close attention to the rising demand for alternative beverages, such as energy drinks, mineral enhanced waters, green teas and vitamin enhanced juices.
They have also paid attention to kitchen and bathroom supplies, and have increased these offerings as well.
There are six warehouse workers who load trucks at night.
The company relocated twice in the last 10 years to its present 17,000-square-foot facility.
EXPERIENCED EMPLOYEES SUPPORT GROWTH
Chiarello and Malizio believe the strength of their staff has allowed them to maintain consistently strong customer service as the company has grown.
“We’ve had longevity with our employees, Chiarello said. “We promoted long-term employees to management positions and they responded beautifully.” Six of the company’s managers have more than 100 years collective experience.
Chiarello and Malizio have made it a policy to always hire from within.
They do background checks on all drivers, and have used Internet screening. They do not use newspaper classifieds.
Joan Crader, the longest standing employee with 23 years of service, has become the controller. The operations manager, Ken Ostipwko was a shipping clerk, and the service manger, Phil Monroe, was a route driver. Terri Jurasits, who started as a part time clerical worker, now manages the customer service department.
Joan Crader, the controller, wrote the employee handbook. The company provides health care, paid vacations and paid holidays. There are annual performance reviews.
Chiarello and Malizio have continued to remain active in civic organizations. Both have coached little league, and they are involved with a high school mentoring program and with a charity that raises money for autistic children. “We try to give back to the community,” Chiarello said. Both men’s offices are adorned with plaques from civic activities.
If that doesn’t keep them busy enough, they are also active in networking groups. These are organized groups of business people who meet on a regular basis and exchange leads.
MEDIA ADVERTISING PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN NEW YORK
Media advertising has always been a cornerstone in the New York metro market. Unlike operators in most other markets, the New York players use radio and TV aggressively. The company has also been creative in working out barter arrangements with some of the radio and TV stations. The TV ad on the local public TV station is a trade.
The most recent initiative has been to coat the delivery trucks with vinyl wraps carrying the company’s logo and some of its key coffee brands. “This is better than the Yellow Pages because tens of thousands of people see our trucks daily,” Malizio said.
Advertising has become increasingly important in recent years as many offices no longer allow solicitors on the premises.