As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt everyday business, professionals in convenience services are using creative strategies to run operations and provide food and beverages to their customers. Each week, we’ll highlight the important work being done by leaders in our industry. Have something you’d like to share with us? Email us here.
Q&A with Jon Corto, Founder & Owner, Buffalo Strive Vending
Buffalo Strive Vending, a full-service vending operation serving western New York, has improvised and adapted operations during the COVID-19 pandemic to enable direct-to-consumer service. The company has also partnered with other organizations to donate tens of thousands of snacks to support frontline workers and senior citizens. Founder and owner Jon Corto, who formerly played football for the Buffalo Bills, noted how his experience with the sport has influenced his drive to succeed.
Q: What is one key to success you have committed to, especially now with the coronavirus pandemic?
A: We have always had a relentless pursuit to make sure we are providing the best customer service for our clients. We have also committed to giving back to the community we serve. We try to always take a progressive approach to be on the cutting edge of technology and new trends in our industry to gain efficiencies. We value our employees and we view them as our greatest assets to our success. We also credit our ability to vertically integrate our services and businesses to make us a stable company for years to come.
Q: Are there any creative strategies you can share from your experience in navigating the crisis?
A: Improvise and adapt! We have created a direct-to-consumer model for our customers through our new website called Strive Direct. Customers and businesses alike can purchase snack boxes and gifts for themselves directly on the web. We have been able to stay active in our community by donating thousands of snacks to people working on the front lines and senior citizens. We encouraged others to join in on our efforts and had tremendous success. We partnered with the Thurman Thomas Family Foundation to donate to seniors and challenged Buffalo to follow our lead. Collectively, we donated over 42,000 snacks to senior citizens throughout western NY.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would like to share with other operators at this time?
A: My advice would be to never give up and channel the inner fervor to succeed that you had when you first started your company. I believe I developed a “failure is not an option” mindset from playing in the NFL, where you had to perform at the highest level no matter what the circumstance. No matter how tough things get, your relentless pursuit towards your goal will weather you through the greatest challenges. If you hyper-focus on your positive goals for the future — instead of the present circumstances — your business will always prevail.
Read continuously updated and expanded coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.