She also recognized that many restaurants needed a reliable coffee service provider. She hired a salesperson with restaurant sales experience, John Machuga. “He understands what it takes to get and keep a big account,” she said. “I knew that he could get big business and that’s what we needed.” Many of the foodservice distributors in the market could not match her service capabilities, she noted.
Rose-Marcoline’s two repair technicians are able to fix restaurant brewers. With repair service a big part of the business, foodservice now accounts for 40 percent of the company’s sales.
She combines the foodservice deliveries with the OCS deliveries. The trucks are wrapped with her company graphics and make a great sales tool.
A recent focus has been nursing homes, which have become the fastest growing customer segment. Rose-Marcoline uses water soluble coffee in these accounts. She noted the quality of water soluble coffee has improved a lot in recent years.
She also launched a Website for the company in 2005, and is in the process of upgrading it.
Ongoing OCS training
In 2007, she took the Quality Coffee Certification Program at the National Automatic Merchandising Association Expo. Two other employees, John Machuga and Max Marcoline, have taken the program as well. Max Marcoline is Rose-Marcoline’s son, who recently moved from warehouse manager to sales, and is the only other family member in the business.
The company’s focus on foodservice and health care accounts proved helpful when the recession hit in 2008. The company did lose some accounts, Rose-Marcoline said, but the accounts lost were among the less profitable ones to begin with. Hence, the customer fallout did not significantly hurt her bottom line.
Fiscal 2011 proved a challenging year, however. She lost one of her two hospital coffee shops when a hospital opted to manage the coffee shop themselves.
Rising coffee prices, meanwhile, required her to pass the increases on to customers.
The company’s commitment to quality and its focus on acquiring foodservice accounts and health care accounts enabled continuous growth in spite of these challenges.
By consistently focusing on good quality coffee, Rose-Marcoline believes she is better able to raise prices to customers when necessary.
While K-Cups have been an important area of growth, their pervasiveness at retail has brought new challenges.
Rose-Marcoline said she keeps a close eye on accounts installing an unauthorized Keurig machine. If this happens, it erodes her sales.
Recently, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has changed its order requirements for certain K-Cup products, which she finds difficult. She sees this as one of the biggest challenges she currently faces.
She is overall optimistic since she has a good group of employees. She offers a competitive benefits package, including health insurance, life insurance, accident and disability insurance, and an IRA retirement plan.
Last year, she acquired her partner’s share of the company and is now the sole owner.
Rose-Marcoline has maintained a high community profile for the company. The company is active in local business organizations. In 2010, she was listed as one of the most admired CEOs by a local business magazine.
In 2011, Rose-Marcoline was honored by the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership as an Athena Powerlink Program recipient.
She believes the company will continue to grow in the foodservice and health care segments. Much of this growth will be in the equipment service area.
The demand for quality coffee will continue to increase, she noted. In recent years, name brand coffee retailers such as Starbucks and Caribou have expanded into the market. Rose-Marcoline offers these gourmet brands, but she offers her private label as a more economical alternative.
Tim Hortons, the Oakville, Ontario-based coffee retailer, has entered the Erie, Pa. market, but Rose-Marcoline said that the brand does not yet have a lot of loyalty in her market.