Feedback: February 2023

by Leah Huss, Steve Mayer, Marc Shutro, Wayne Watson

Q: As a brick-and-mortar retailer, what are you doing to drive foot traffic? 

Leah Huss

Huss Brewing Co.
Sector: Breweries

We’re so proud to be celebrating 10 years in business as Huss Brewing this year! Our growth in our core business of selling local craft beer to consumers in grocery stores, bars, restaurants and resorts is all rooted in one fundamental principle: a true love of our customers and community!

We are locally grown and proud of it, and we feel that investing resources in local community initiatives like Boys and Girls Clubs, Hope Kids, Phoenix Children’s and countless other charitable organizations is a key part of not only our growth strategy but also who we are as a local family-owned company, employer and member of the very community that we serve!

We focus on the community that we love — our guests recognize this, drive foot traffic and bring friends and family to our four locations throughout the valley on a weekly basis. Many people say it, but we live it. It’s truly all about family!

Prior to creating Huss Brewing Co. with her husband Jeff, Leah Huss co-owned and operated Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, helping pioneer the craft beer community and growth in Arizona. Huss Brewing Co. opened its doors in South Tempe in 2013, and in 2016, Huss acquired the Papago Brewing Company in Scottsdale, creating the newly formed Huss Family of Beers and transforming Huss into the third-largest brewer in the state. 

Steve Mayer

Chief Operating Officer
Bashas’ Family of Stores
Sector: Grocery

Digital ordering and direct delivery are a complement to our business. These streams provide the opportunity to personalize interests and needs based on shopping habits and patterns and engage guests in a different way. Operationally, our locations are still important; however, we are retrofitting our stores to better serve our e-commerce business while still providing outstanding service to our guests.

At the same time, foot traffic is a critical piece of the retail industry. While there is a strong interest and expansion in the digital space, there continues to be the need for brick-and-mortar locations. We will continue to focus on strategic promotion on pricing and selection, both in print and digital in-store offers with a keen focus on personalization. By providing our guests with the deals that are important to them alongside a top-notch experience when they are in the store, that develops and enhances a sense of brand equity that is crucial to creating a loyal customer base.

Steve Mayer is chief operating officer of Bashas’ Family of Stores, where he oversees the strategic and day-to-day operations of more than 110 grocery stores. The grocer operates locations in Arizona, New Mexico and four Tribal Nations under five well-known brands: Bashas’, Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store and Bashas’ Diné supermarkets.

Marc Shutro

Burland Jewelry Center
Sector: Jewelry

The thing I do to drive foot traffic is just offer great service and price. Because of where I’m located, I don’t get very much walk-in traffic (unless you’re eating next door at Niccoli’s Italian Grocery-Deli or getting your hair done at one of the salons in our complex at 6102 N. 16th St.). We don’t advertise, so it’s word of mouth and a small Facebook presence — and of course referrals are our No. 1. We are now selling rings to the children of parents we sold engagement rings to.

My mom and dad built this store on hard work and a great reputation. We are now featuring lab-grown diamonds at a fraction of the price of natural diamonds, and that has really helped young couples get a bigger diamond at less than half to even a quarter of the price.

I feel people are wanting to do business with local family jewelers now, and we’re here to help. The only thing I do to direct foot traffic is continue doing what we’ve always done; we’re looking for lifetime customers.

I am Marc Shutro, the owner of Burland Jewelry Center. I started working for my mom and dad 31 years ago and continue to offer the same quality and excellent prices on all our jewelry and repair. My daughter has worked for us for 10 years now as the third generation in this family business.

Wayne Watson

Cigars N Such
Sector: Tobacco

Since purchasing the store in Q4 2017, we needed to increase overall sales.

The largest impact to date to broaden the customer base has been partnering with other local Fountain Hills businesses and participating in their customer events. Cigars ‘N’ Such serves as the cigar vendor at these events, held with complementary business categories such as beer, wine or whiskey tastings at Grapeables as well as golf tournaments and club member events at Rio Verde Country Club. We participate in approximately one event per month during high (winter) season.

Partnering with other businesses and clubs has increased our reach into the community.

The lobby furnishings were changed out to provide more of a cigar lounge atmosphere. In addition to adding a large-screen TV that plays sports, music or other entertainment during business hours. These changes helped create more of a cigar lounge atmosphere and encouraged customers/visitors to stay a bit longer.

Remodeling the humidor increased the capacity to display larger quantities of premium cigars and expand the inventory to include over 40 manufacturers/brands and multiple product lines from each manufacturer.

With 30-plus years of retail experience in tobacco products, premium cigars, pipes and all kinds of accessories, working for other cigar store owners, Wayne Watson jumped at the first opportunity to purchase an ongoing concern. He enjoys being the proprietor and shaping Cigars ’N’ Such to his vision of a premium cigar merchant and lounge. Watson has visited Nicaragua to experience manufacturers’ processes first hand.

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