25 year in the biz

Tri-City Retail Systems Celebrates 25 Years in Business

25 years ago, we started Tri-City Retail Systems by selling and installing cash register systems in our own local area.

After two and a half decades, we’ve deployed Point of Sale system solutions for over 1,000 retail companies across North America.

So we’d like to take this opportunity to say thank-you! Thank-you, to our amazing team of POS technology experts who have relentlessly worked to help our customers succeed. Thank-you, to our suppliers and our many technology partners who have enabled us to continually evolve in an ever-evolving industry. But most of all, we’d like to say thank-you to our loyal customers, both large and small, without whom we would not exist. You have pushed us to be better. Your suggestions and feedback over the years have helped us to develop what the retail industry views as one of the best retail point of sale product and service offerings available. Thank-you, from the bottom of our hearts; and here’s to another 25 years of success for us all!

 

Is Your Business Data Protected Against Disaster?

In this article, we are highlighting another customer of ours, Bread and Bretzel Basket, a family-owned bakery and café in Waterloo, Ontario that makes a wide variety of quality baked goods, including bread, buns, cakes, pastries, donuts, cookies, chocolate and more – all from scratch. Translation: a whole load of yummy!

Early one morning in the summer of 2018, Roland Daldrup, the owner of Bread and Bretzel Basket, came to work to find that the front door of his store was smashed and his entire Point of Sale system was gone, the cash drawer and all! While most people would be forced to close their store for at least a few days, Roland was able to keep his store open. Here’s how he did it.

A business owner’s nightmare

“I remember pulling into the parking lot that morning and thinking, great! Now I have this to deal with on my busiest day of the week,”

The first thing that Roland, the owner of the Bread and Bretzel Basket did was call the police to report the break-in. Then he called Tri-City Retail Systems, his Point of Sale System vendor, to find out what his exposure was if the thief tried to hack into his POS system to get customer data or other valuable information about his business. “My initial concern was the data but then I remembered that it was all in the cloud, (remote computers that store information)” says Daldrup. “As long as I froze my account in time, I knew I would be fine.” That’s because his POS system, MyPOS Connect, only allows connections from users with an IP address that’s recorded on a safelist, (whitelisted IP addresses). “My call was returned within two minutes, says Daldrup!” “I spoke with the support agent and he immediately blocked all access to my database to protect my customer’s personal information as well as my sacred business data.”

 

Michael Steg, one of the managing partners at Tri-City Retail Systems remembers getting the call from Roland. “He certainly sounded upset,” says Steg, “I guess it throws you for a loop when you realize that bad things can happen to anyone. It was lucky that Roland emptied his cash drawer before leaving the store the night before.” Unfortunately, because the cash drawer was closed, the thief had to take it along with the POS terminal that ran his retail management system. If he had left the drawer open, the thief would have seen that there was nothing in the till and probably would have left it alone. This is a very common mistake that many business owners make; always leave the cash drawer open when you close the store.

What now?

Roland’s next challenge was replacing his POS system and getting it set up so that he could process sales and get his business up and running again. Since he was using MyPOS Connect, all of his product and pricing information was still intact and safely stored in his database in the cloud. Everything from his customers to his suppliers to his sales history was also backed up and available for him. So, all he needed to do was to install MyPOS Connect on any Windows device and the support team at Tri-City Retail could connect it to his database. In 10 minutes, he would be up and running like nothing had happened.

“Roland wanted to know how much a new POS system would cost and how quickly we could get it up and running,” says Steg. “I remember telling him that it could take a while to order in a replacement system and suggested that he just use any other computer in his store. But like many of our customers, Roland only had one POS terminal that he used to run his entire business. I told him not to worry, we would provide a temporary replacement point of sale terminal that we would lend him until his replacement arrived.”

“Tri-City Retail’s response was beyond any of my expectations. I was given a loaner POS system to re-establish my business until the new terminal arrived,” says Daldrup. Within a few hours, his system was set up and connected to the Bread and Bretzel database; it was business-as-usual!

“The Tri-City Retail staff was extremely helpful and quick to act during this bump in my journey,”

When asked what advice he would give other retailers similar to him, Daldrup said: “don’t wait for something like this to happen before you get a cloud-based POS system. But if it does, you won’t find a better replacement for your POS system than MyPOS Connect.” He went on to say, “MyPOS Connect has helped me better control my inventory, profit calculations, and staffing. I have also had an increase in revenue because I can measure the popularity of certain items and their busy times and days.” When asked about his POS system provider, Daldrup said this: “the service at Tri-City Retail is remarkable. Anytime I need assistance with any issue I can call their support department. They are always positive and helpful and they resolve my issues every time.”

We were so glad that we could be there for Roland during such a trying and stressful time. And we’d like to thank him for allowing us to share his story. If you would like to learn more about Bread and Bretzel Basket, visit their website at www.breadandbretzelbasket.com

 

Chocolates and Mill Creek Chocolates logo

Customer Highlight – Mill Creek Chocolates

In today’s Blog post we’re showcasing our customer, Mill Creek Chocolates: a manufacturer and retailer of fine gourmet chocolates. When we met Jodie Lofts, Special Projects Manager for Mill Creek Chocolates, she was struggling to manage a manufacturing facility, a warehouse and three stores – all using “pencil and paper” to account for sales and control inventory. Jodie decided to deploy MyPOS Connect, first in the manufacturing facility then later in the warehouse and stores. Her journey through the process of single-handedly converting the entire operation from a manual system to an automated Retail Management System, all while continuing to manage the business, is truly impressive.

Following is a series of responses to questions we asked Jodie about a year after we helped her deploy MyPOS Connect throughout her entire operation.

 

Tri-City: How long have you been in business and what is your company’s mission?

Jodie: Mill Creek Chocolates has been in business since 1997. Back then, generic big box stores were opening on every corner. So it was our desire to create a luxurious, personal shopping experience for all of our customers by offering the most decadent handmade chocolates presented in beautiful boxes, wraps and ribbons. Every facet of Mill Creek Chocolates has one goal: for our customers to love us.

Tri-City: Tell us how your business grew to the size it is today and what challenges forced you to look for a new Point Of Sale system.

Jodie: We started with one store in Port Elgin. Not long after, a second store opened in Owen Sound. Inventory was stored in the Port Elgin location and shipped to Owen Sound, as required. This worked for a number of years because stock could easily be seen “at a glance” in the storage room in the Port Elgin store. Then about 3 years ago, we opened our third location in Kincardine, which presented new problems because all the extra stock we were making to supply the Kincardine store was still located in the Port Elgin location. So keeping track of stock levels was even more difficult and time consuming.

Our breaking point came when we moved all of the inventory storage to a new warehouse facility, about 2 years ago. All our product was made in one location, shipped to the storage warehouse and then distributed to the three retail locations from there. While at the warehouse, the basic products were also packaged into a variety of boxed items and gift baskets. Controlling hundreds of items across four locations had become impossible.

Tri-City: What equipment/system did you use to process sales prior to using MyPOS Connect?

Jodie: Before MyPOS Connect, sales were completed on a cash register. Products were grouped into categories and the retail staff needed to know which category each item belonged to so that they could enter the sales using the right department keys on the cash register. Inventory was manually counted, almost daily, which was time consuming and expensive. We managed to keep track of how much of each product we were making, but we didn’t know how much was going to each store or how much was being sold.

Tri-City: How has MyPOS Connect impacted your business?

Jodie: MyPOS Connect has had a huge impact on our business. Almost everything we do has been altered in some way. From implementing new bar code labels to tracking stock as it changes from a humble individual chocolate to its place in a glorious gift basket; this was an enormous undertaking. We are still refining our procedures to develop a system that works perfect for us.  With that said, I can’t imagine how we would have moved forward with pencil and paper.

Now, I can’t even imagine how we would run this business without MyPOS Connect. The average shelf life of our products is between 2 and 5 months. We can’t afford to misplace stock for any length of time. Inventory is moving daily between locations, changing from simple materials to hundreds of new products all against the proverbial time clock.

Tri-City: Once you started using MyPOS Connect, did you have to make any changes to your business or business processes that you weren’t anticipating?

Jodie: I think the key words here are “weren’t anticipating”.  I did anticipate that everything was going to change. Except for almost daily counting of stock, we didn’t keep track of very much. We were basically starting from scratch with this system. We can now track actual products. In the past we only had sales summaries to look at. We have only just completed a full year with MyPOS Connect, but I can easily look back and see how much ‘peanut brittle’ (for example) we sold in the week before Christmas. This allows us to be better prepared; previously, we would only know that we sold $x.xx of snack-based items.

Tri-City: Before deploying MyPOS Connect, did you look at other POS solutions; what were some of the key reasons you chose MyPOS Connect over the other systems?

Jodie: Moving to a POS system was a big investment for Mill Creek Chocolates. So we looked at 7 different POS companies. The upfront cost of new POS hardware was fairly equivalent across the other companies; but as I did more research between the different POS companies, the ‘deal breaker’ became needing our own server, which I decided I could not support. With MyPOS Connect, we didn’t need to have our own server/storage; and the low monthly fee was another big selling feature.

Regarding features, all the POS solutions had nice sales screens, but we also had to be able to “see” everything, everywhere. As I watched the demonstrations from the other companies, it was the stock management that I focused on and MyPOS Connect had the strongest capabilities in that area.

Tri-City: What is your favorite feature or part of our product? Why?

Jodie: I love the reports portal. Since our staff is so new to this, I can easily help look up inventory, track product that seems to be missing, produce a report – from anywhere!

Tri-City: Have you used our customer support team? If so, do you have any feedback from your experience?

Jodie: Love! My contact is John – he is so awesome. John responds to my emails very quickly. He is always patient when updating our ever changing ip addresses; but most of all he was a great teacher. He gave me the bare bones and said GO! Always encouraging and NEVER condescending. He guided me to learn on my own and build the confidence that I could handle this undertaking. Before working with MyPOS Connect, I didn’t know what a POS was and I had never used Excel. I had never even used a cash register, unless you could count my grandpa’s corner store 35yrs ago. At no point did I ever feel that this task was too big.

Tri-City: What is your advice to others who might be considering MyPOS Connect?

Jodie: Any company that is still working with pencil and paper to keep track of inventory, and is finding it overwhelming, should consider making the leap. The level of technical expertise is minimal, and you can learn it as you go. It does take time to keep track of your inventory, but the information provided in the reports will really help define your direction.

Tri-City: How would you describe MyPOS Connect if you were explaining it to a friend?

Jodie: MyPOS Connect provides a simple way to make sales and easily keep track of all your inventory.

Tri-City: Would you recommend MyPOS Connect to a business associate?

Jodie: YES! I do so every chance I get.

If you would like to taste some of Mill Creek Chocolates’ amazing confectionary treats, go to their webstore at https://www.millcreekchocolates.ca/product-categories/