Every business should have a data nerd. We have a few here at ShopKeep but to be honest, we dream of having more; we’d really like a whole room full of socially awkward MIT grads with plaid shirts sitting around playing with Nerf guns and debating the merits of different uses of the Countif function in Microsoft Excel. The thing is – data is king. If you want to make smart decisions about your business, you have to have a firm grasp on what your numbers are telling you.

Thankfully, some numbers are easier to interpret than others. For example, merchants using ShopKeep POS have seen same store sales revenue grow, on average, by 17.4% year over year, from May 2012 to May 2013. This is, in and of itself, a noteworthy achievement but when compared with the nationwide numbers it becomes truly remarkable – across the country, small businesses actually saw an average 0.6 percent drop in overall revenue over the same period.

This is a clear indication of something we already knew: ShopKeep POS merchants are forward thinking, tech savvy, entrepreneurial and generally better equipped to succeed in today’s market.

In order to learn more, we reached out to a ShopKeep POS merchant who has seen a particularly spectacular rise in revenue, Sweethaus Cupcakes and Candy. Operated by Tara Koenig with her husband, Billy, the business has grown a massive 416% since May 2012. We asked her to share her a little of her story and why she believes they have seen such amazing results this year.

Do What You Know

Tara and her husband had both spent years working in the high-end restaurant business in New York City before moving to Charlottesville, Virginia and setting up Sweethaus. Tara would advise anyone looking to build a business to stay close to what they know,

A lot of people decide to set up in the food and beverage industry because they like to eat and drink. I really love cupcakes, but to be honest, the food stuff is only ever about 10% of my day – the rest is strictly business.”

ShopKeep ipad pos system

Choosing a POS

Tara had previously worked with Micros and Aloha, so she was far from a novice when it came to choosing her point of sale system. Her top priorities were affordability, reliability, and support,

I had used these old systems in the past and not only would they break down all the time, but my boss would discourage me from calling the helplines because they charged so much for support. I knew when I set up my own place that I needed something completely reliable that did what is was supposed to do and where support was easily and freely available. I was starting up on a shoestring so I needed something that was affordable and would grow as I did. I like that we both got going as startups and that ShopKeep POS is improving as fast as I’m growing.”

Sweethaus ShopKeep customer in NYC

Choosing a Location

Tara didn’t start out with much of a budget, in fact, she couldn’t even afford signage when she first started – so she knew selecting the right space would be vital,

Location, location, location. It’s true for choosing your home, and it’s even more true for starting your business. You have to know what aspects of a location will make a difference in your area. Things which wouldn’t be important in New York, like easy car access and ample parking, can really make or break a business in my part of the world. Our location makes it possible for customers to swing by on the way home from work, or on their way to a birthday party. That makes a real difference.’

Candy sweethaus small business


Tara places a big emphasis on diversifying your product line and exploiting the opportunities around you,

I started out selling cupcakes in my store but now I have multiple streams to my business – I do deliveries, I visit public events with my cupcake trailer, I do weddings and in my store we have started selling candy and novelties. The nice thing about ShopKeep POS is that I’m able to split each of these areas up in my BackOffice and keep regular track as to how each area is doing. I recently renovated a section of my store and it was great to be able to track the noticeable uptick in sales that resulted.'”

Tara also emphasizes the importance of having products that range in price point.

My area is really mixed economically – we have customers who have money and customers who are not so well-off. You have to those high-margin, luxury products but also provide real value items and appeal to a broad base. We have mini cupcakes that are available for under a dollar, and that’s including tax!”

Sweethaus customers in NYC

Standing Out from the Crowd

Tara places a big emphasis on choosing products that drive conversation, “I had seen that these mini-cupcakes were very popular in New York and I just knew there was a gap in the market here. I didn’t have the budget to spend on fancy boxes for the cupcakes or taking out ads but I chose a product that I knew would drive conversation. Every time someone bought a box to take to a party, I knew that the following week I would get at least two people from that party coming in to the store asking about catering their events.”

It’s clear that Tara and Billy Koenig have made a huge success out of their new venture in Charlottesville and we’re proud that they have chosen ShopKeep to help make it possible. If you’d like to hear more about ShopKeep POS and how it could help your business grow, give us a call on 800-820-9814.


Paul Nugent

Paul Nugent

Paul Nugent is a small business advocate who uses his background in the startup space, along with his POS system expertise, to allow small business owners to make informed decisions within their specific budgets.