Let's say you're already running a seasonal business. Or perhaps you have an idea for a business or business expansion that's heavily dependent on good old Mother Nature. Putting your livelihood at the mercy of the seasons is a bold move, yet many seasonal businesses all over the globe find ways to thrive operating at full throttle only part of the year.
But what if you could thrive year-round and use Mother Nature as your ally?
Let's have a look at seasonal businesses all over the globe that are doing just that: expanding beyond merely one season to put together 12 months of profit.
Chicago's East Lakeview neighborhood sits perched just north of downtown proper. It's walking distance from the parks and beaches edging Lake Michigan. Its streets are bustling year-round, and the neighborhood isn't lacking for choices when it comes to food.
In the middle of a thriving pocket of eateries and bars you'll find Soupbox, which originally didn't sell soup at all. This 20-plus-year Chicago mainstay began as an Italian ice shop called Icebox where founder Jamie Taerbaum sold 20 flavors of this frozen refreshing treat. Lines would reach down and around the block, ensuring Taerbaum didn't have to worry about revenue in the summer months. Chicago's humidity and heat made his business a shoo-in in a neighborhood with a ton of foot traffic.
But summer doesn't last forever. So, mere months after Jamie opened his doors as a purveyor of Italian ice, he tried his hand at soup—another seasonal comfort food—to warm Chicagoans' bones. He launched with a rotating menu of more than 70 soups with 12 soups on the menu each day. There was no stopping the year-round power of Taerbaum's summer-centric business once he added soup to the menu. Icebox even permanently changed its name to Soupbox.
Now, 20 years later, Soupbox is a thriving year-round business that offers soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, salads and, of course, the Italian ice that started it all in two locations.
Here in the States, we might not think too much (or at all) about getting a wood-burning stove installed or serviced in our homes. However, for many homeowners in Great Britian, wood burning stoves are still a key part of winter comfort. Enter Stoven, a London-based supplier and installer of wood-burning stoves, which is a pretty hot business during the fall and winter months. But what do you do when the heat outside makes the heat inside unnecessary?
Well, this smart brand decided that the summer heat made for a solid year-round ally. They expanded their business to include alternative energy offerings, making for 12 months of work and the ability to service their winter clientele on an even deeper level. Stoven now offers solar thermal systems that heat water using sunlight, solar panels that heat water in the summer and lessen the burden on a boiler in winter, and solar PV panels that provide electricity to homes via solar power mounted on rooftops. And they do it all with the help of a sleek and clean website that lets customers easily navigate their energy options year-round from the comfort of the climate-controlled location of their choice.
U.K.-based Welly Warehouse is a purveyor of a veritable cornucopia of footwear designed to keep your feet dry. Yet as anyone knows, most people aren't likely to step into a pair of tall rain boots in the sweltering summer months. Welly Warehouse found most of its sales coming in November and December, which means cash flow stalled for the other months of the year.
To get cash flow moving for the remainder of the year, Welly Warehouse launched its Festival Wellies, inexpensive wellies that appeal to those who head out to the U.K.'s many outdoor music festivals. Now, instead of lugging around a full-size and costly pair of rain boots, festival fans can opt in for as little as £9.99 for a pair of Pocket Wellies and gear-up with their expanded line of Festival Packs that include a poncho, hand sanitizer and a lighter/bottle opener. There's also the option of adding some flair with either a feather boa, a floral headband or a pocket flashlight. In 2015, their summer expansion paid off with an additional £1 million in revenue, The Telegraph reported.
Talk about saving for a rainy day.
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