There are several stores and restaurants along George Street that make up part of the colourful downtown scene that both visitors and people who call Peterborough home have grown to love. Even though there’s lots of variety in these shops, there are also similar businesses in competition with one another as well. Happy Dayz on 291 George St N and The Peace Pipe just down the road on 408 George St N are two such stores and both are smoking accessory retailers. The Arthur spoke with Aaron Switzer of Happy Dayz and Sarah Piper of The Peace Pipe about their stores’ customer service, what makes them unique, and how they interact with competing businesses.
How would you say your store delivers excellent customer service?
Happy Dayz: We’re a family run business; a lot of that has to do with people who vibe with us, whether it’s our staff or upper-management. We appreciate an honest and easy going nature in our employees, and that they see the same end goal that we see as a family. I think that never losing sight of our values and goals and doing that in a relatively fun and unstressed way as often as possible has been huge. Our staff is wonderful.
The Peace Pipe: We strive to ensure our staff have a positive approach to customer service. We want to provide an environment that is clean, organized and EVERYONE can feel welcome. We have zero tolerance towards discrimination. We encourage our associates to educate themselves on the products we sell and we provide them with opportunities to learn. We believe that creating an inspiring work environment is essential to good customer service. Staff project their knowledge and enthusiasm onto the customers and the customers leave feeling good about their purchase.
What makes your brand unique – in other words, what makes you stand out?
HD: A huge portion of it is being that family-run business and that we’re relaxed and easy to get along with. This business is also something that we have a shared interest in, so we would do everything the same way as we would appreciate if we were our own clientele. And, of course, knowing the ins and outs of the law and to be able to educate our clientele, taking all the time and effort necessary to do so. I know it’s something that I would appreciate and ultimately, I think that contributing that time and energy is important, yes, but it’s also not something difficult to achieve when you’re genuinely passionate about something. And that applies to us as a family, generally, but also to our staff.
TPP: The Peace Pipe Inc has one of the largest selections of functional art in the country and the way we present these collections is what sets us apart from the other stores. Our presentation doesn’t just apply to functional art though; it extends to almost all of the brands we carry. One in every colour and size, so you never have to shop anywhere else. All 5 stores are connected so if we are sold out, our staff can reach out to another location and have it transferred at no additional cost.
How do you interact with competitors?
HD: Because of the climate of what legalization has been in the past, we focus more as a family instead of direct competitors on cooperation and good humour towards each other than in many other industries. The notion of competition isn’t the same as it could be in other fields or markets because we’re all part of the same community, at the end of the day. This industry is part of the culture that’s come together and moved forward with medical legalization and the current legislation and being part of that excitement together.
TPP: Being in the industry since 1997 we’ve watched it grow from a small tight knit community to a booming industry. We’ve seen stores evolve throughout the years and keeping up has not always been easy. We watch what they are doing and often times we learn from them. We don’t allow our staff to bad talk our competitors. Like us, they are only trying to make their mark on this industry.