OTRview III: Daisy Mae’s Market
Fresh produce at Daisy Mae's
Find out more about Daisy Mae’s on its website, blog, facebook and twitter.
Barb Cooper of Daisy Mae's Market
You appreciate Over-the-Rhine. When did you first learn about and/or experience OTR? How has your perception of it changed since your first impression? Was it love at first sight?
I grew up in a typical suburban community near St. Louis and followed my brother to Miami University in Oxford. Shortly after my brother finished school, he moved to Over-the-Rhine. At the time, I didn’t understand why he would want to live in an old house in a sketchy part of town, but I came to realize that the population was a cross section of society and his home and neighborhood were nothing short of historic. The older I get, the more I appreciate viewing church steeples from his deck, walking to Reds games, and enjoying the restaurants and shopping in Over-the-Rhine.
Tell us about Daisy Mae’s Market and how you came to be a vendor at Findlay Market?
My husband Barry and I have been in the homebuilding business for the past 23 years. When the economy took a tailspin, we decided to start a second venture. Barry’s brother Jeff had spent most of his life in the wholesale produce business and always hoped to open his own company. The stars aligned, and Barry and Jeff decided to become partners. At about the same time, in November of 2009, Findlay Market was looking for a full-time fresh produce merchant. We loved the historic aspect of Findlay Market, the creative energy of other vendors, the market’s central location, and the fact that we could fill a need in the neighborhood. The decision to open at the Race Street end of the market house was an easy one. Barry and I joke now that he’s the only local homebuilder who also sells tomatoes!
Barb Cooper @DaisyMaesMarket on twitter, photo by Scott Beseler for Soapbox Cincinnati
You utilize social media to spread the word about Daisy Mae’s and Findlay Market. What effect has social media had on your business?
I’m a huge fan of social media. With the company just getting off the ground, we didn’t have much money in the marketing budget. I started to dabble with Twitter and discovered how easily I could connect with a core group of people who enjoyed Findlay Market. One follower led to the next and before I knew it, Daisy Mae’s Market had hundreds of followers. I realized I could get immediate feedback from many of these followers and began to learn what foods they enjoyed cooking, what restaurants were their favorites, what they thought about the streetcar, and even where they worked. I had a virtual focus group at my finger tips. From Twitter, I expanded to Facebook, LinkedIn, and my own Daisy Mae’s Market blog. I connected with other local business owners and Findlay Market merchants who support each other through social media. I’m not the first to say it, but it really is “all about the network.”
Photo by Clint Spaeth
Daisy Mae’s Market delivers, how does that work?
We deliver our fresh produce to restaurants, offices, and individuals. We keep local chefs happy with our service and don’t hesitate to run an extra case of tomatoes to them at the last minute. We also specialize in “Healthy Breaks” for the workplace. With this program, we deliver fresh fruit on a regular basis to downtown offices where employees can enjoy something healthy in the breakroom. Our newest delivery option is a spinoff from our “Healthy Breaks.” When several people asked if we could bring personal deliveries to them at the same time as our “Healthy Breaks” deliveries, we developed an entire personal delivery service. The unique thing about our personal delivery service is that you can have absolutely any of about 100 items from our Findlay Market produce stand delivered to you. We send a weekly price list by email to those who have requested it. Shoppers send in their orders to firstname.lastname@example.org
by 4:00 pm Monday-Thursday so that we can deliver the next day. We focus on delivering fresh produce to your office, but we also deliver to most residences in the 45202, 45219, and 45220 postal areas. We accept cash, check, Mastercard, VISA, and PayPal.
Daisy Mae's Market at Findlay Market
In 2010, Findlay Market became fully occupied and it continues to grow. In December 2010, Daisy Mae’s bought a three-story building near the market to help meet the demands of your growing business. You’ve been quoted as saying “There is quite a buzz in OTR. There is a sense that things are changing a bit with a lot of urban professionals moving in and new shopping arriving at Findlay Market.” Could you talk about the future of Findlay and what it means to OTR?
Findlay Market is such an exciting place to be these days. Within the last few years, merchants like Dojo Gelato and Pho Lang Thang have attracted a new generation of Findlay Market fans. Combining this fresh energy with Findlay Market traditions such as Silverglades and Krause’s has created an atmosphere that brings new visitors for the first time and also brings back those who may have forgotten what a wonderful landmark Findlay Market is. Not only can you now buy almost everything at Findlay Market that you can buy at your local grocery store, but you can also have a meal, be entertained, enjoy a wine-tasting, share recipes, or lift a beer in the Biergarten. Findlay Market is the focal point of Over-the-Rhine, and it truly has become a place to see and be seen.
Many thanks to Barb for sharing her view of OTR and also for bringing fresh local produce to Over-the-Rhine!