[John Aron] We were on our honeymoon and while we were touring southern Italy, we saw Christmas tree pasta.
[Carey Aron] And we came back to New York. We decided, you know what? It's about time for us to start our own company.
[John Aron] We started the Pasta Shoppe on the idea that we could make product, pasta, that was made for American moms.
[John Aron] Well, we have the world's largest selection of these fun shapes, and so it's very thematic. And so we know moms care a lot about sports, so we make baseball and football shapes. They care a lot about the holidays, so we're covered on all of the major holidays.
[Carey Aron] My favorite shape is our snowman and snowflake pasta. They're really good shapes when you cook them up and they really hold the sauce well.
[John Aron] There's a lot of fun shapes, but I think the one that appeals to me more is the dollar sign one.
[Carey Aron] I'm pretty sure John would say his favorite shape is the dollar sign, because that's all he thinks about all day in terms of cash flow and cash management. So that would be my guess. Am I right? Yeah.
[John Aron] Our approach to marketing was to give them a catalog online. And that worked early. And we learned some things and we asked our customers some questions and we started to realize we needed to make that website investment become more and more of a role that a salesperson would play.
[John Aron] Our relationship with SunTrust has really evolved over time, and that’s been really important. As we got the ecommerce growth, what we found was we needed to explain why a website was a fixed sales tool, not a piece of software that they couldn't fund. And if we didn't have the kind of relationship manager who could look at the changing sales, interpret what I was saying, and communicate that message back to the bank, we wouldn't have gotten where we've gotten to nearly as fast.
[Jane Melrose] It has been fun to watch them grow and change over the years. And in the last seven years, I've seen a lot. What was important to them seven years ago, and now what's important to them. How their business has grown, how it's changed. Their philosophy.
[Carey Aron] So our new website has become really like a salesperson out there for us. So when people are searching and looking for fundraising ideas, new ways to raise money, now we're actually out there as an option for them. It gave people a place for ideas and to showcase our products and really it changed the way we were able to be found on the Internet.
[Jane Melrose] The Arons know exactly where their dollars are going. They know and they can react when things change. They know if things are good, things are bad. They can also work with the changes in the market.
[John Aron] So when I wear my cash flow management hat, I am thinking about seasonality. January through May, we earn enough so that we can invest into June through August, where we make enough pasta so that we can keep up with orders in our real true busy season, September through December. But along the way, if there’s a hiccup anywhere in the chain, the line of credit comes in to cover that gap.
[John Aron] The only way I can operate in a cash flow world is daily. I want to know what those daily increments are so that I can see trend over time. And the tools that SunTrust gives us has only made that easier over time
[Jane Melrose] Three of the products that The Pasta Shoppe has are a deposit account, a savings account, and they use online cash manager. Obviously, online check deposit makes your life a lot easier. You don't have to go to the bank. You don't have to go outside and get cold. You don't have to stand in line. So I think that has really helped them save some time, streamline their operations a little bit.
[Carey Aron] What I love about the online cash manager is that any time during the day that we want to know what's happening with our finances, we can log in and see every kind of transaction that's happening in our account.
[John Aron] Just even the idea of scanning your checks and cutting a day or two out of that processing time from the beginning of the process to the cash is in the account, that compression makes it easier to have a real-time understanding of where the cash is. So that automation is a night-and-day change for us.
[Carey Aron] The great thing about having such a close relationship with SunTrust and the people there is that they've really seen us grow and evolve over the years. And understanding what our needs are, they've been able to come to us with the technologies that they have to help us be more efficient.
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