If few people know about your Destination, are you still one?

Sep 13, 2010 | General

You’ve heard the old saying: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?”

When it comes to being a Destination success, the question is: “If a business is a Destination but very few people know about it, does it make it one?”

Oh, you’ve never heard either of these old sayings?  Well, go with me on this.

Two weeks ago I was in Lucas, Kansas, as I was traveling between Phillipsburg and Chanute, two communities that sent groups of business owners to our Destination BootCamp as part of our Community Reinvention Program. We had taken a detour off the main road to go and tour S.P. Dinsmoor’s Garden of Eden and see Dinsmoor’s body in his mausoleum (that’s another 3 or 4 blog posts just to tell that story).  But after that tour, the tour guide in the house said, “Make sure you go see Brant’s Meat Market in downtown Lucas.  It’s 88 years old and they give free Czech bologna samples.”

I’ve never had Czechoslovakian bologna, but if it’s an encased meat product, my Midwestern background ensures that I’ll want to sample it.  So, after the Garden of Eden tour (which I heartily recommend), we went over to Brant’s Meat Market.

I didn’t get to meet Doug Brant, the third generation co-owner of Brant’s, but we did meet his wife (Linda, if my memory is still good), who gave us some great samples of bologna, pepper sausage, liverwurst, and some smoked sausages.

I also took this photo of their wall mural, which I’m sure has some historic significance.

When was the last time you got to sample everything before you decided to buy it?  When was the last time you had really good homemade sausages, bologna, and liverwurst?  Same with me: never before!  I was sold!  She then helped us package several pounds of our Czech meat goodies into a plastic bag that we stored on ice in the cooler of our truck, and we took off to Chanute.

When we got back to Colorado, I started telling our neighbors about Brant’s Meats in Lucas, and how amazing it was.  What’s this place called again, they asked?  Brant’s Meats.  Where was it again, they asked?  Lucas.  Where’s Lucas?  North of Russell, the home of Bob Dole (trying to give them a frame of reference).  Finally, in the middle of Kansas.  Does it have a website?  Kind of.  If you’d like to see it, just click here.  Just don’t type in Brantsmeats.com because it’s not there.  And don’t listen to Google or Yahoo’s automatic misspelling suggestions, or you’ll end up at Brandts Meats in Mississauga, Ontario which isn’t them.

Are they on Facebook?  I don’t know. I couldn’t find them.

My point in telling you all this?  Here is a spectacular one-of-a-kind business.  A great historic story.  Fantastic signature products.  Wonderful customer service.  Yet unless I talk to someone who has been to Lucas (a small percentage of the overall North American population, I assume), most people have never heard of Brant’s.  And because the business isn’t utilizing many of today’s marketing tools, word-of-mouth is what brings people to them.  Admittedly, word-of-mouth is the best form of marketing but also the slowest form of marketing.

As I’ve said in this blog before:  Brant’s has already done all the hard work, but it’s reaping less glory than it should be getting.  Hopefully, this blog posting helps.
Back to my initial question:  If a business is a Destination but very few people know about it, does it make it one?  Yes, but it doesn’t seem right that everyone doesn’t know about this amazing place!  Every meat-loving, tailgating, sausage eating, liverwurst-spreading, bologna-eater in North America should know how cool Brant’s is.

And that would really make it a Destination.