Historic Kerber’s Farm Adopts a Digital Future to Honor its Past
“When we were looking at our different options, the usability of ShopKeep’s interface was very clean and not overly layered. Other interfaces we looked had too many steps to complete a transaction.”
–-Nick Voulgaris, Kerber’s Farm, Huntington, NY
About Kerber’s Farm
Nick Voulgaris had fond memories of growing up in Huntington, NY and visiting Kerber’s Farm as a child. When he saw that the historic property was being sold off to developers for condos, putting a bid in to save the historic site felt serendipitous.
As an entrepreneur and native Long Islander, Voulgaris understood the importance of his undertaking. “I am most proud of saving the farm from being bulldozed, as a place that has a lot of legacy and importance to the families in the local communities,” he says.
After competing with developers to purchases the property and acquiring the rights to the original name, Kerber’s Farm reopened on Labor Day in 2013. A six-month renovation brought new life to the old farm, and with it, returned decades of memories to a vibrant community.
Revitalized as a fully operational farm and market, Kerber’s Farm offers shoppers and diners fresh produce, artisanal jams and deliciously crafted prepared food such as their famous-around-the-island egg sandwich on a cheddar biscuit. The farm is also known for their famed homemade pies — churn out in the thousands leading up to the holidays.
Under Kerber’s Farm new ownership, the old farm is a beacon of light for the community and a regular stop for both locals and tourists alike. The positive response that Voulgaris has received from the community has been overwhelming.
Business partner and store manager, Risa, pick up freshly-baked products from across the area, ensuring only the freshest treats each day at their store. Items include pies from Youngs Farm, baked goods from Fiorello Dolce, coffee from Georgio’s Coffee Roasters, and variety of other locally-sourced treats.
Sourcing the best local pies, baked treats, and coffee for their customers, from across Long Island, allows Judy and Tom to cultivate an overall sense of community they share with other local business owners.
“I knew there was some value in saving something that held such a legacy for the town, I just did not know how important it was to so many people. I get letters and phone calls from absolute strangers thanking me and people walking into the store to share their memories of visiting the farm from their childhood.”
The Power of POS
Originally operating with a traditional cash register, at first, Voulgaris didn’t see the benefits of a cloud-based POS for the farm. With no previous knowledge of POS systems, he credits the change to his knowledgeable staff, which at one point sat him down and explained the value of transitioning over to a cloud-based system.
“When it came time to switch from a cash register to a POS, looking back, I was extremely misinformed. I thought we couldn’t afford it. Finally, my team put one in front of me and I was able to see how simple it was. It tracked our sales, tracked our items and the cost was negligible in the grand scheme of things. As a small business you really can’t afford not to have it.”
Having transparent reporting comes in handy for his daily merchandising decisions and longer-term growth strategy, says Voulgaris. With ShopKeep’s reports allowing for easy access to year-over-year sales data, Kerber’s Farm has seen 20 to 30 percent growth in the last 12 months. For a small business, with both minimal kitchen and merchandising space, growth such as this is an affirmation that saving a once dying farm was a leap of faith worth making.
The serial-entrepreneur and author is now looking at opportunities to expand the business and diversify the life of the farm. With such rich ties to the community, Voulgaris is interested in giving back. Currently, he’s working on adding an educational program to Kerber’s that will teach local children about sustainable farming practices.
Having ShopKeep in place has not only been beneficial when evaluating year-over-year data, but also valuable for making more granular decisions such as the ability to track day-to-day business operations and when making menu decisions.
When the staff at Kerber’s Farm decided to offer a chicken potpie as a special menu item, paying homage to its poultry farm roots, the expectation was that it would be temporary. But as employees noticed sales taking off and Voulgaris saw his daily reports in ShopKeep’s BackOffice, it was clear that this item needed to have a permanent home on their menu.
Though the potpie example is the most memorable, data insight such as this has happened time and time again at the farm.
“Having access to pull up reports on the app or the desktop screen and to have visibility into what our top sellers are or what’s not moving, allows us to get more efficient and really focus on our most successful products.”
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