In April 2019, Ben and Shari Anders, brave and intrepid adventurers that they are, set sail on a new adventure when they purchased Blue Dog Beverage, a craft beverage distribution company from its founders, Janet and Bob Lake. Ben and Shari bring new energy and direction to Blue Dog. They come with diverse experience in the fields of accounting, sales, teaching, social work and real-estate. They intend to put focus on data-driven decision making, customer follow-up, building a happy family of employees, improving systems, growing the warehousing side of the business, embracing technology, and using their success at Blue Dog to do good in the world.
Their first 6 months has been filled with learning the flow of the business, meeting customers and learning about their unique visions for their businesses, setting up new systems, learning the product lines, meeting suppliers, doing some product demos, building relationship with Blue Dog team members, learning each team member’s role and contribution to the business, learning trends in the industry, and so on.
Ben and Shari are excited to guide this craft beverage distribution company into the future. During this first 6 months, they have also developed a new logo. Yes, it’s still a dog, and still a bluish black lab, but this time it has a cheerful dog demeanor and a more modern looking font.
They have also developed a new mission statement that incorporates the fact that we are a beverage distribution company and also reminds us every day of why we do what we do: “Helping deliver life’s fun moments…” Craft sodas are a fun treat. So are the teas, sparkling waters, juices, hard sodas, other beverages and snacks that we distribute. Most of our products come in 12 ounce glass bottles and they often come in 4 packs, not 6 packs or 12 or 18 packs. These aren’t mass-produced commodities, but craft brewed specialty drinks for special occasions and treats. We like the idea of bringing a little bit of joy to people’s lives every day.
To support the new mission statement and guide policy and procedure development, Ben and Shari have also developed a new set of core values for the company that we take into account every time a business decision is made:
- Think Smart
- This value is designed to encourage a focus on efficiency, systems, forward thinking, thinking in general, constantly making improvements, and solving problems as they arise.
- Be Kind
- At Blue Dog Beverage we value being helpful to our customers, suppliers, and each other. We value open communication, especially asking questions, listening, and avoiding making assumptions. These concepts help us solve problems and promote teamwork.
- Present Professionally
- We believe in greeting others formally when we come into contact with them whether it’s on the phone, via email, or in person. We value timely follow up. We dress appropriately for the job. We are pleasant, polite and helpful. We build relationship with our customers and each other. We listen. We take our work seriously and we give and receive feedback openly, but we don’t take it personally. Feedback is part of the constant improvement we strive for and expect.
- Play, Work & Win as a Team
- We approach everything we do with a team play mentality, as if we were all playing together in an important soccer game. Playing the game, and working at Blue Dog, should be fun, challenging and rewarding. As we would on a sports team, we put our heads together to overcome challenges, we offer help and guidance to each other, we ask for help and guidance from others when needed, we count on each other, and we participate as much as possible in fun company activities.
Ben and Shari have also redesigned the company website to reflect better the personality and culture of they company they are building. There’s a happy dog or family on most every page. The website also clearly shows all the products and services we provide including craft beverage distribution and warehousing. It outlines our service area and helps potential customers and beverage manufacturers see how we might work together. Though at this moment, it’s still a work in progress, we are also improving the navigation on the products page to include filters, sorting, and so on so customers and potential customers can easily find and choose the right products to set their businesses apart. In the long run, we may include online ordering and order history as well. That would be exciting!
It has been a fast first six months with much excitement and many challenges. Ben and Shari have definitely gotten their feet wet in the fast-moving flow of the craft beverage distribution industry. They are steadily building the ship that is Blue Dog Beverage, and charting the future course of the business. It will be exciting to see the type and size of craft that develops as well as the exotic ports they land in as they navigate this ever-changing river. Ahoy!