Imagine walking into a gift store and smelling the aroma of freshly roasted hazelnuts and vanilla being added to toffee. That is the exact experience for customers who visit Hazelnut Hill’s gift shop. Customers can stop by the small business and view the roasting and packaging process before they make a purchase. Quite a unique experience, one that is not available at places like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
Rob and Sally Hilles have been Oregon hazelnut growers since 1985. Together, they built Hazelnut Hill, a small business that includes a hazelnuts orchard, direct-marketing candy operation and hazelnut tree nursery. During their years in business they have continued to sell quality hazelnuts, chocolates and gift packs at affordable prices.
Originally their products were only available in their physical hazelnut gift shop but now they are able to offer their products to customers throughout the world.
How have they been able to do this?
Located in Corvallis, Ore., Rob and Sally decided it was time to take advantage of the Internet and create a Web site that would reach more potential customers. They decided the biggest difference for them would be to understand the value of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how that can separate them from the competition.
Within two weeks of utilizing Search Engine Optimization, their site went from the back pages of Google to the first page (often within the top five). The technology makes it easy for Sally to understand how to make effective changes and opened the world of SEO to their family-run company.
This is a great example of how technology can fuel small business formation, operations, and innovation. Hazelnut Hill reacted to customer demands, the market and competitive pressures by utilizing new technology and tools. The once physical gift store has now become a virtual store by refining their business and creating a Web presence.
The web has given the business an additional outlet that helps them continue to grow and thrive in a tough market.
Is your Small Business using the Internet or other technology to increase sales and reach new customers? We would love to hear your thoughts.