retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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Hi, Kevin Coupe here and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy. I'm coming to you today from Westport, Connecticut ... and I was brought here today by two emails I received this week.

The first one was from a reader who said that while she likes MNB, she feels that I spend too much time focusing on big companies and not enough on smaller companies. Now, I'm not sure that this is true ... I like to think that I really spend most of my time focusing on the big innovations that grab my attention, but I take seriously even the criticisms I disagree with.

The second email was from a reader responding to a comment I made regarding the need for retailers to differentiate themselves .... and we both agreed that a really great cinnamon roll is one of the ways that food stores can do so.

I think that one of the reasons I originally mentioned a cinnamon roll has to do with the place you see behind me - the Coffee an' Donuts shop. Not a sexy or modern sort of name ... but they make a cinnamon twist that is the size of a small tire, and utterly delicious. You can sit at the counter and have eggs or pancakes, and they're very good, as is the coffee. But it is the doughnuts that are magic - hot and dense and flavorful.

On a Saturday or Sunday morning, you can wait a long time to get a table, and people will line up to get inside to order doughnuts. This is a one-store operation, owned by a Greek family, and doing business in this location - very successfully - for decades.

I don't come here as much as I used to because I'm at the age where I have to be a little careful about doughnut consumption .... but when the kids were young, this to be a favorite place to come on weekends ... it is about eight miles and six exits on the interstate away, and we'd pass plenty of supermarkets and other coffee shops and bakeries to get here. But this was the place - it was special, and worth the effort.

That's what retailers have to do. They have to find that thing that makes them different, makes them special, and then cultivate and nurture it in a way that comes to define the business ... and gives people a reason to pass other stores and not go online to do their shopping.

In the food business, inevitably that means food that smells and tastes great ... and it can be as simple as a really great cinnamon bun.

That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

KC's View: