Guest Blog By: Jady Regard (Originally published on Cane River Pecan Company's website)
Cane River Pecan celebrated 50 years of operation in 2019. Read up on how the business got started and stayed relevant in the changing times.
I often wonder how different it must be to run a company in 2019 than it must have been 50 seasons ago.
A typical day for me starts between 8 and 9 am and is filled with a variety of jobs. It can include overseeing our marketing and sales, working on new product development, (by the way, we are working on a line of pies at the moment and the packaging that goes along with them) then checking in with my operations director, customer service team and retail team.
We recently opened a new retail store that is located a few miles from our core operations, so I travel there multiple times a week to visit with our staff there and see how I can support their efforts. I also manage to keep a pulse on the pecan industry, as a whole, and unique gourmet gifting trends that are always emerging. I manage our ad agency account as well as any social media engagement.
I have a fiduciary responsibility to the company, for both the shareholders (my family) and the employees that work here. I also keep an overall eye on the general direction of the company through new ideas and products that are relevant, inspiring and unprecedented. And finally, I have to be able to navigate what we need now versus what we can use later, to keep moving the company forward in a competitive gifting landscape. We are constantly evaluating the products we offer and the behind-the-scenes technology and facilities it takes to get our products out to our customers. Over the course of a day — I can have my hands involved in a lot of unique areas.
And believe me, no two days are the same.
Navigating the ‘Net
Fifty seasons ago, the internet wasn’t around. It seems strange to imagine a time where an online presence didn’t make or break a company — and what a game changer it has been for all companies, regardless of the product or service they offer. The internet accounts for nearly one third of our annual sales and continues to grow. Embracing the internet and understanding how it plays a vital role in day-to-day operations is a must for most companies. For us, it has opened the door to many new customers, but it also has added to the mix of things to learn about and how to deploy those resources for the betterment of our growth and profitability.
Social media plays a huge role in our company, and social platforms are ever increasing the avenue to gain new customers, promote new products and make direct sales. While we participate in several social media platforms, we must learn ways to leverage what is happening on these platforms to further our ability to offer our products and services. Social media is a fast-moving ecosystem. Personally, I am in it, but I am also 50 years old, so I feel like I have one foot in, and one foot out of the social realm. That is a scary place to be at times! I have to get to a place where I rely on information from younger consumers, learn their shopping habits and put our company in a position to embrace those buying opportunities.
So how have we survived? In large part, thanks to these three main values: Passion, Commitment and Creativity. We must be passionate about pecans and the job of servicing our clients with an outstanding gifting service for their recipients. We all must be committed to the goals of the company and our commitment must not be self-serving, but for the good of the entire company. And we must always strive to sell our products and services creatively. That is what will give us a competitive edge in my opinion. Our latest creative endeavor? Boudin Pie. If you haven’t had it, you’re missing out.
We want to grow, no doubt. We recently moved into a renovated building on our Main Street of New Iberia in the newly-formed historic district, and we are beyond excited about this new location. I have always felt that a 50-year-old family company like ours needs to be on a Main Street. It’s what you expect to see!
We have a lot of plans for this building, including an expanded retail-facing component that will include a pie bar for having a cup of coffee and a piece of pie, and a pecan exhibit space so we can educate folks on the history and industry of pecans. We think it will be an exciting addition to downtown New Iberia and for tourists that come to our parish to visit. Also, we hope to expand our mail order catalog reach and certainly grow our online presence with digital marketing.
The pecan pie is the poster child for pecans and our industry. Even though pecans are more than just pie, let’s be honest, it’s a damn good place to start. And who doesn’t love a good piece of pie? After the creation of the Boudin Pie, we’re excited to explore other flavors. Look out for the up-and-coming Bourbon Pecan!
I want Cane River Pecan Company to be a top tier gifting company with a national footprint. I also want to be the leading gourmet pecan provider nationwide, and we are already well underway. We are known for only offering an exceptional line of pecans and pecan specialties, but the goal now is to take what we are doing and offer it to even more people around the US. The South has a rich association with pecans and heirloom recipes that demand fresh pecans. We want to be the source of those pecans so we can support the southern food traditions that have been handed to us.
Our ability to continue to share our southern heritage and Louisiana food culture is what sets us apart from other gourmet food companies. Everyone knows that food is our hallmark in Louisiana; to be involved in the food industry — the most exciting industry in the state — is fun to be a part of. And we have a lot of great ideas that we want to see come to fruition. The future is bright for us!
Cane River Pecan Company is located at 254 W. Main St. in New Iberia. For more information, contact Jady Regard by phone at (337) 321-4205 or email.
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