According to Raisin Rack owner, Don Caster, the region of central Ohio around his two stores has been experiencing an economic explosion over the last few years. Caster says his business has recently doubled in response to the rising demand for natural foods in his area. Although he doesn’t have any current plans to expand to new retail locations, Caster made it clear that the growth he’s seeing within his existing stores is phenomenal. For now he plans to focus his resources on expanding business and profitability at his Westerville and Canton locations.
Caster recently provided us with a profile of how he’s using CATAPULT’s Multistore module to manage two store locations from his headquarters.
with Don Caster
Owner, Raisin Rack
How long have you been working with ECRS?
Raisin Rack has had a relationship with ECRS for almost five years. Before we switched to CATAPULT we were using ECRS’ DOS-based Simple Retailer and OpenPOS. In an effort to keep up with the times, we knew we needed to advance ourselves technologically by switching over to a Windows-based system in our stores. We knew ECRS was developing CATAPULT, their next generation of POS software that would be Windows-compatible. After comparing CATAPULT to the other available options on the market, we decided to stay with ECRS. The transition from DOS to a Windows POS system went very smoothly, and the Windows/CATAPULT environment has proven to be far more flexible in terms of meeting our automation needs.
Tell us a little about Raisin Rack.
A lot of people think we’re purely a health food store, but unlike so many businesses in that category, over half of our sales volume is in groceries. Our Westerville and Canton locations each have about 10,000 square feet. Each location contains approximately 46 linear feet of produce, 32 feet of dairy, and 24 doors of frozen goods. Between the two stores we have around 40 employees, most of whom are full-time. Our daily transaction count is generally between three and four hundred.
How do you link your headquarters and two stores together?
CATAPULT uses modern replication technology which allows information to be distributed among my store locations and head office.
That sounds complex. Does it require a lot of effort on your part to make replication work?
No. CATAPULT’s replication takes place totally in the background. We can’t even tell when it’s happening, which is a good thing. It’s simple to set up, and once it’s configured, there isn’t really any maintenance to speak of. It just works.
How often does Raisin Rack replicate?
I’ve set up CATAPULT to replicate every hour. The system could probably handle replication every ten or fifteen minutes. Raisin Rack doesn’t need that level of frequency yet, but it looks like we’re headed in that direction.
Why so often?
One thing that’s great about replicating every hour is that I’m able to keep prices very up to date at the two stores from HQ. Our customers may have bought something at the Westerville location but need to return it at the Canton location. By replicating every hour, CATAPULT ensures consistent pricing between stores. This keeps the return process pretty seamless, which keeps my customers happy.
What kind of internet connection service are you using to do replication?
After researching the different connection options available, we decided DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) was best suited to our needs. It’s a little more expensive than a standard dial-up connection, but I wouldn’t want to be replicating without it. Plus, we do about 150 credit card transactions every day. The time DSL saves us on credit card sales alone is worth an extra $35 a month. With DSL CATAPULT authorizes credit cards in 2 or 3 seconds. That’s a huge improvement over the 8 to 15 seconds we were getting with a standard dial-up connection.
How effective is CATAPULT’s Zone Pricing in Raisin Rack’s multistore environment?
It’s great. Our two retail locations are not that far apart from each other, but each store is faced with unique local competition. A competitor in Westerville may have a particular line of items at one price while a Canton competitor may have the same line at a different price. CATAPULT’s Zone Pricing let’s me set different prices for the same items at different stores so that each Raisin Rack location can maintain competitive pricing for their respective geographic areas. CATAPULT also makes it very easy to run store-wide or system-wide promotions, which we do on a regular basis.
Can you comment on the quality of technical support you’ve received from ECRS over the years.
Top quality support is the main reason Raisin Rack has been working with ECRS for so long. Their technical staff has a “go to” attitude when issues arise. By this I mean that they determine the best solution and then they go to it. The ECRS support department is by far the most “heads up” technical team I’ve ever worked with. If you put me in a room with twenty other grocery retailers who were looking for a Windows solution to run their stores, I’d likely be able to sell them all on CATAPULT and ECRS.