Stan Williams didn’t grow up with a lot of money – far from it…. Stan Williams didn’t grow up with a lot of money – far from it. Both his mother and father worked hard to make ends meet. And although they didn’t have much cash for extra indulgences, they always found a way for the tiny luxuries of life – like gourmet ice cream. Making his own ice cream with strange flavours, Stan loved to experiment in the kitchen. Years later Stan saved enough money to buy a food truck to serve his ice cream at street festivals, concerts, and anywhere he could park his truck. Because of his humble roots Stan knows how important it is to give back to his community. He has built his brand around giving a portion of profits to local in-need communities. He also hosts an annual one day “Free Ice Cream” event at a low-income neighbourhood. “Ice cream makes everyone happy! Why not give it out for free?” Once he realized his true mission, Heart & Soul Creamery (HSC) was born.Stan is no ordinary ice cream maker. He thinks of himself as a “creamologist” – he approaches ice cream making like chemistry, mixing and experimenting with ingredients. This mindset and method allows him to create whimsical (and popular) flavours like bacon caramel maple, honey cinnamon granola, sea salty caramel cashew, and pineapple lemongrass cilantro. These unique flavour combinations and his mission to drive social change has been the foundation of the brand in the GTA. Although his customer base is broad, young millennials especially love the HSC concept and product. During the first few months of operation HSC got some good press with articles in Toronto Life and blogTO. But social media is Stan’s strong suit when it comes to marketing. Leveraging platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, every morning the food truck’s location is posted – people love the adventure and “treasure hunt” of finding it. Some have complained though they wish HSC was in one spot with a consistent retail location. Also first time consumers on occasion are shocked by the premium prices – $6.99 for a scoop of ice cream. Friends of Stan have urged him to lower prices to become more mainstream but Stan thinks this is what differentiates the brand especially with a high quality product. His operation is fairly typical for a food truck business. Most of the sales are in the summer months with some revenue occurring in May, September, and October. It is a seasonal business of course as weather significantly affects customer traffic. As for the ice cream production HSC rents out space in a kitchen at a local ice cream manufacturer but there is not much room for expansion there. A year ago Stan came close to buying another food truck to operate in London. But he changed his mind. One of the dangers of running a food truck business is the uncertainty of local food truck regulations – some cities have zero rules or unclear ordinances about where to park, how long to park, etc. And of course this can change at any moment. Stan wants to propel HSC to the next phase of growth, and eventually would love to become a national ice cream player. The ice cream category is extremely competitive and crowded with countless brands. In order to succeed he wants to build the brand but knows that marketing efforts like advertising, product development, packaging, distribution and sales all take resources and a stomach for risk too. He has worked hard to get where he is so he doesn’t want to lose everything. Whatever direction Stan takes he knows it must be in line with his social causes. He knows he has limited time and money so he can’t do it all. He needs to focus. He has $100,000 to invest and now he needs to decide on next steps. Arts & Humanities Communications Marketing MARKETING MKM700
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Top answer: Stan Williams didn’t grow up with a lot of money – far from it….