Martha’s Vineyard is one of those special places on the planet that never seems to leave you once you’ve been there. The island is made up of small businesses in quaint towns surrounded by pure water and sandy shores, and the people who live there see their populations ebb and flow much like the water around them. Katama General Store, located in Edgartown, Massachusetts is your little neighborhood store so typical of the area. Walking up to the store you experience the smell of the fresh flowers and herbs planted in large bins placed around the store and picnic tables. The inside of the store is rustic and feels like a beach environment, and during the summer months, you struggle to move around the swarms of tourists coming in for a cold beverage and freshly prepared foods. For the customers the store is a respite from the heat, a wealth of treats and drinks, and all of the beach sundries you could possibly need.
Purchased in 2003 by owners Jackie and Doug Korell, their business has expanded from being mostly catering to a full blown retail store. As Jackie puts it, "with the general store being part of the beach community, you get involved with the whole scene of summer living … the candles, the tabletop, even hostess gifts … the offerings have expanded. We bring the great products, special breads, and essentials: a nice bottle of wine, hors d’oeuvres —we offer more than just beach food."
Doug explains that because of that growth they quickly realized they needed a Point of Sale system to handle the sales volume. “We met Kim & Lewis from EncomPos Software in 2010 through a customer of ours whose daughter would send her mother gift cards for another store that used EncomPos Retail. After seeing the software, we knew it was what we needed to optimize our business. Up until then we had been using standalone manual cash drawers and we really had no idea which products were selling or not and whether those that were selling were making us any money. EncomPos Retail really put that information into our hands and as a result our purchasing has been smarter, our stocks levels are maintained and our profits have increased considerably.”
The store has grown so much they have expanded to three POS stations to shorten the time their customers spend checking out. For Jackie, the summer months are insane in the store and she absolutely loves it! “But if I didn’t have a direct line to Kim I would probably have gone back to our old way of doing things. She is always available whether it’s 6 in the morning or 8 in the evening, I know I can call and get her help. It’s that kind of relationship Doug and I were looking for and know we can continue to grow with.”
In fact, they are now in the process of putting up a brand new building to replace the red general store everyone on Martha’s Vineyard has cherished for so long. Their plans are geared toward running the same business but in a building that’s more appropriate. The new Katama General will be re-oriented and will have a wrap-around covered porch for customers to come to rest and relax while enjoying the sundries purchased inside.
As well, EncomPos Retail will be improving the communications between the POS and the kitchen for next season by sending food prep orders directly to receipt printers located where the food is actually being prepared. This will cut down on time and confusion experienced with hand written orders by having detailed ingredients on each ticket listing how the customer wants their food.
"We continue to learn from our customers - they have been great in letting us know what they want. And they enjoy the exploration, trying out new things." Both Jackie and Doug are looking forward to their new and improved store opening Spring of 2017. “Our goal of being Katama’s neighborhood store — I think we’ve achieved that. We’re more than just a stop before the beach and EncomPos Retail is making sure we stay that way."