09 Sep Twenty Years in the Books
Looking back on the past 20 years, the first thought I had, is that it has flown by.
In the fall of 1999, Broadbent’s 33rd catalog went out in the mail. However, as the new owner of Broadbent’s, it was my very first catalog.
That year was quite an adventure. The printer of the catalog, kept all photography and files at his office. So I contacted him for direction… To my dismay, I learned that he was under the impression we would no longer be printing a catalog, and had thrown years upon years of photos away. “Never Fear!” he told me, “I can schedule a photo shoot and you and I will re-shoot everything we need.” So we did, and my first catalog was born. It was definitely my worst work, but thankfully you, our loyal customers overlooked the appearance of that catalog and ordered from us anyway…..I sincerely thank you for that!
By 2001, I had learned much and it was showing in my book. However we hit a bit of a snag….
I was at the printers, proofing the book, when I heard the news come over the radio. That day was 9/11/2001. The catalog no longer seemed important, but we went through the motions of completing the task at hand nonetheless.
Our phones were silent from that Tuesday until the following Monday as all of America tried to absorb what had taken place. The lesson learned in 2001-“the folks that make up the country in which we live are much more important than any mail order catalog”.
The first few years, we put out a 16 page book in the fall of the year. We soon learned we would get better response if we mailed more than once a year. Each year we tried to improve on photography and product selections. Now we mail 5 times a year and our catalog is 32 pages. Catalog layout and printing has improved with the advances in technology, but the contents of the catalog are pretty much the same. We still make Country Ham, Dry Cured Bacon and Smoked Sausage the old fashioned way. Mostly done by hand, in fact we still hand rub each country ham and bacon slab with the cure ingredients.
Another big change over the past 20 years is the method in which customers order. Broadbent’s first website appeared in 1999. We had very few orders placed on that site the first couple of years. Now about 60% of orders are placed on that site, yet we get catalog request every day. It seems our customers enjoy browsing the pages of the catalog and then go to the site and place their order. It’s a 24/7 convenience, a perfect blend of old and new.
So yes, we have adjusted and adapted to the times. Another thing we still do the old-fashioned way is answer the phone. If you call, a real person will answer the phone, no menu to choose from. We say hello and you tell us how we can assist you. Our new fall catalogs will be arriving in your mailbox in about two weeks. If you are not on our mailing list, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-841-2201 or go to our website and request a catalog.
Thank you, for the past 20 years. We look forward to serving you for many to come.