Welcome to "Three Minutes Across the Counter," featuring successful local businesses.
Crudité Creations' vegetable arrangements offer healthy snacking plates for any gathering.
The Auburndale-based business, owned by Lauren and David Brooks, has created arrangements for Thanksgiving gatherings, fundraisers, birthday parties— and even a Halloween event.
Spend three minutes behind the counter with Lauren and David:
What is the name of your business and where are you located?
Crudité Creations is located in Auburndale. We are a delivery-based business.
Why did you want to locate here?
We have lived in Auburndale for the past 10 years, are raising our kids in this town, and are extremely involved in the community. It is a natural extension of our lives to offer our creations to our community and of course surrounding towns.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
Hmmm … spent too many hours on this one. Wanted a name that captured what we do. Crudité Creations was founded on the premise of creating artfully designed vegetable arrangements that bring together fresh vegetables, health, art and beauty.
Where did you find the capital to start your business?
To date we are completely self funded.
What's the most difficult moment you faced as a business owner?
As a business owner you wear so many hats—I knew this from the get go but I didn’t quite realize how challenging it is to stay on top of it all. Where do you spend your advertising dollars? How often do you use Facebook? Which elements of social media are you using and how often are you reaching out? Who even knew there were so many different platforms? I have learned so much so quickly and yet I still feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of today’s ever-changing and incredibly hungry social media needs. Let alone all of the networking groups you can attend. It is endless.
Were there any challenges that made you second-guess your decision to be an entrepreneur?
When I was looking for kitchen space, you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to get space that is zoned properly. It’s a huge challenge for small businesses that are in the food industry. So much so that it appeared as though the business was going to be over before it even began. A key turning point was when we decided to build our own commercial kitchen. This decision was not an easy one and it came with many road blocks (I did a lot of second guessing here), but it was one of the most important decisions we have made to date.
What's been your favorite moment or proudest achievement since opening?
Thanksgiving was our busiest period to date. We worked around the clock and the following day was filled with deliveries. It was so much fun to know that as I was putting the turkey in my own oven (I served 15 people!) on Thanksgiving Day, my customers and their families were enjoying precious time together and that our arrangements were part of their special holiday.
What's your strategy for dealing with difficult customers?
I love this question and in many ways I have to thank my years of working in retail. Our customers learn pretty quickly that there is not much we won't do for them. For example, we offer "theme" arrangements and personalize the bouquet/arrangement for that “special” occasion. To date we have created arrangements for a book launch party, a healthy Halloween alternative, kids birthday parties, bar/bat mitzvahs, fundraisers and more.
How does your business give back or get involved in the community?
As I mentioned earlier we are and will continue to be incredibly involved with the Newton community. We have donated to many of the elementary school PTO fundraisers as well as the Newton Mother’s Forum. One incredibly fun experience that happened this past fall was when we were asked by Newton Youth Players Executive Director Melissa Bernstein to participate in their production of Our Town. We donated arrangements that were part of the actual play. During intermission the audience was invited to take part in a mock wedding reception and actually ate the arrangements. Everyone loved the creations and it was especially fun to see Mayor Setti Warren with a cameo as the Mayor.