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Can Soda Pop Teach Us About Niche Marketing?

b2ap3_thumbnail_bubble-up.jpgOur industry is often accused of having a “follow the herd” mentality, where all communities do is look at their comps and copy what they do.  Since everybody is following everybody else, the argument is that only a few are actually innovating.  So I think it is good to look outside the industry for inspiration, and today I found it in the world of Soda Pop.  I’ll share a video below of John Nese, owner of Galco’s Soda Pop Stop.  On first impression, it seems like a business that simply shouldn’t exist.  They are a store focused on soda, but don’t carry Coke or Pepsi products.  If someone wants those products, he actually refers customers down the street where they can get a better deal than he ever could.  Instead, he focuses on soda brands that most people have probably never heard from, such as Bubble Up, Manhattan Special, and Fentimans Curiosity Cola. How is this possible?  How could a store that didn’t carry Coke or Pepsi survive?  For most people, they would assume that a store that didn’t cater to the big brands would automatically be torching the possibility of a sale with a vast majority of soda drinkers, and frankly, that might be true.  However, although I don’t know the financials of this store, there are some key elements that make this an interesting niche opportunity: Coke and Pepsi products are in high demand, but they also have high competition, so margins get sliced incredibly thin. Conversely, unique labels such as cucumber ......
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