Saturday, May 2, 2009
"The Usual." A true parlance of community. If you can walk into a place - any place - and order "the usual," well, my friends, in the world of patronage, you've arrived. Historical findings suggest that being offered "the usual" by places of food-oriented business is a sign of nobility and status in one's community. Or I just made that up because I'm trying to justify seeing something cool on TV or in a book that, long ago, set in motion a goal-setting brainstorm that is, I'm happy to say, nearing completion.
Now. It's been a personal goal of mine for years to have a place where I would be on a first-name basis with the owner of a bar, restaurant or coffee shop and that, upon my entry into such an establishment, the owner would say, "Hey, John. The usual?" Amazing. So, I've got a few goals on my life-list (start a noble pirate company, learn to use power tools, pull off a moustache, write a book, teach my child a jump-shot, perform stand-up at an open-mic-night, have Blue Rodeo play at my wedding, extinguish the Sun...you know, minor, achievable goals), and, I'm happy to say, this week I got to cross one off.
My friend and owner of Pane Vero Cafe and Bakery, Claudio, made my heart smile by asking the above question earlier this week. Now, since moving to The Drive a year ago, I've hit up Pane Vero for their delicious and, incidentally, addictive croissants (ham and cheese or spinach and feta, you can't go wrong). Claudio has also been a spectacular host of a couple of Climate Cafes, inviting members of Vancouver's environmentally friendly community to sit down, sip coffee, eat delicious food and talk about everything from green careers to green sex ("green jobs" fell somewhere in the middle...). Not only is the guy a class-act in terms of building-bridges/relationships, but now I can get "the usual." And it's a beautiful thing!
Are you looking to get "the usual" at a coffee shop, restaurant or "guy who sells various meats in cones" at the Commercial/Broadway Skytrain station? I won't say it's easy, because building and sustaining a meaningful relationship should take hard work. And you also have to establish a purchasing pattern, hence the usual way of doing things. Adding value for the person who gets your patronage is great too, so try and arrange cool events that will bring new business and people into their place of operations.
Most importantly. Create a buzz about the business. Maybe write a blog post. They'll love it.
Keep it real, Claudio. I'll be in early next week. As per the usual.
PS - oh, and The Sun, after I teach my kid to dunk, you're getting extinguished...keep an eye open, pal.