As soon as I finished the photosession with the previous stranger, Jeff began to sweat me for attention. He offered me a chocolate covered coffee bean. This was a good sales tactic. We pivoted together a distance of three feet to walk into his own “space.”Jeff was operating his small businsess, KUMA, from the cater-corner of the Cloud Cliff bakery. Jeff sells expensive but organic Hawaiian coffee by the pound, chocolate covered coffee beans, and highly perishable fresh vegetable juice.
We paused for two customer purchases in between our conversation. Jeff asked me why I was photographing Willem (Stranger 53). I explained the 100 Strangers raison d’être, and he wanted a chance to be photographed, too. Self-selecting strangers are rather convenient, yes?
Without reason to object, I asked Jeff to turn 90 degrees away from the illuminated glass windows used as backgrounds for Strangers 50-52. From this position his background was completely different from the others inside the same space. In a matter of minutes, Jeff was my stranger 54/100. It went smoother than my earlier struggle against the incoming light when capturing Elan (stranger No.50).
After picture taking, I did buy from Jeff a 1-ounce jelly jar filled with chocolate covered coffee beans. With a smile he said that he can refill it for a discount if I bring it back to another market event. This small but endearing gesture propels his cause of creating a sustainable customer relationship.
Jeff doesn’t have a website of his own, but a Facebook page:www.facebook.com/freshjuicenm
It appears that he tweets on it when there is still juice available from the day’s batch.
Jeff’s appearance reminds me a lot of Shaggy from the Hanna Barbera cartoon series called, Scooby-doo. I didn’t think of it at the time we met, but with a little mindspace, I see it now. Do you see it, too?
I can’t commend enough the small business entrepreneurs like Jeff. He sincerely wants customers satisfied to better insure future business. Impressions matter, and he really worked to seek my favor and repeat patronage. It did have the feeling of a giant tailgate before a Grateful Dead show, but those fans have kept it up for years; and there are lessons to be learned from it.
Good luck to you Jeff of KUMA!