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Customer Spotlight: UNCOMMON GROUNDS

Posted on Friday Jul 14, 2017 at 04:13PM in Spotlights

Here at Hill & Markes, we won't just tell you we're dedicated to our customers - we'll prove it! Check out our Facebook Live chat with owner of Uncommon Grounds Dan Murphy. Read or watch below to hear all about how Uncommon Grounds got started, and how Hill & Markes has helped him along the way.


Mike: Welcome, We are going to wait a minute to fill out the Audience. First off, Dan Murphy Pleasure meeting you.

Dan: Nice meeting you.

Mike: Dan Murphy is the owner and founder of uncommon grounds and we are here today at his brand new location in Clifton Park. What we want to do today is, this is our first company spotlight and Dan is a coffee shop that we wanted to highlight. Just wanted to ask Dan a few questions and talk about the business and about his relationship with Hill & Markes and go from there. Again thank you for your time. Dan how did you get started with Uncommon Grounds?

Dan: 1992 we started Uncommon Grounds, prior to that I worked for General Electric. One place that they had put me was in Virginia in 1990 and they had a nice coffee shop called New Mountain Coffee and Tea and that was kind of a new concept on the east coast. It was two guys from Portland Oregon that opened it. As I was working for G.E I kind of started realizing I was busy but I did not want to make a career out of it so I started looking elsewhere. And a coffee shop seemed like a neat thing, so we started talking to the people that owned it and once we moved back up north from Virginia he agreed to give me more information and I kind of picked their brain and decided I wanted to do it. I found the location in Saratoga and kind of came up with the initial concept after opening the store.

Mike: Excellent, very cool.

Dan: It was just coffee at the time we didn’t do bagels or anything like that. And then a couple years later bagels started to become very popular everywhere in the United States. And at the same time Starbucks started sweeping across the country so we started getting bagels from Brooklyn from a place called Bagel Boys. Initially we were going to get them from Bruegger’s because they already have a market. But these bagels from Brooklyn were a bit different from the bagels that were around here. So we would go down and pick up a couple hundred dozen each week and we would just put them in our freezer and then take them off. And people seemed to really like them so that gave us the idea of opening the Albany store in 96/97. Which combined really good coffee and really good bagels. And we thought that because Starbucks was an issue it would set us apart a little bit. Having really good food complementing the coffee.

Mike: And its funny, now, this has got me thinking, Coffee is so big now. Everyone is talking about coffee and you’re looking at a coffee shop on every block. And now fast forward to now to this shop you actually took over a space that was previously a Starbucks and put your model in here. How have thing been with us here in this new location?

Dan: Good we didn’t really, Well…. We have a store in Saratoga and one in Albany.

Mike: And now this one.

Dan: So this one is kind of in the middle. We don’t really have much experience in marketing so we just opened the doors and hoped for the best. And the standard first week is substantially busier than the previous day. We have been open about 4 weeks and each week has been a little bit busier than the previous week, so that’s going in a good direction. We will eventually do an official Ribbon cutting but just haven’t felt the need yet. And so it’s been good I didn’t really know what to expect but yeah it’s going good.

Mike: Well the bagels are to die for. If you’re in the Albany, Clifton Park, Saratoga area. Like I told you I use to work in Saratoga and the everything bagel toasted, with cream cheese and salmon on top was my go-to. So listen, one of the things I wanted to talk about is how your relationships been with Hill & Markes? What type of products are you purchasing from us and maybe talk a little about the relationship you have with us.

Dan: Sure, the main guys we deal with is Frankie and he actually helped us when we opened our first store in 1992 so we have been working together for a very long time. And recently we switched over from our other paper vendor to Hill & Markes who has been supplying us with cups, all the cups that have logos and frank has been really helpful with that and Hill and Markes stores cups for us. It’s a lot of cups so we don’t have to worry about storage. He just brings it to us every week what we need. The price has always been consistent, you don’t have to worry about a constant price hike like with other vendors. If there ever is a price increase we get our order in so we can try to keep the old price for as long as possible.

Mike: Excellent, that’s great. Well Dan I appreciate your time this has been fantastic. Is there anything else in the future we should keep our eyes out for?

Dan: No.

Mike: Well thank you man I appreciate it. This has been our first customer spotlight we are going to be doing more of these so I hope to see you soon.

Katie Bruno - Hill & Markes Marketing Assistant and Social Media Specialist

Katie Bruno is originally from Peru, but recently moved to Amsterdam, NY after graduating college with a Communication degree from UAlbany. Oh, not that Peru, a small town in upstate NY. Fueled by coffee, she passionately blogs about all things wholesale and uses her addiction to social media for the greater good of the company. When she's not keeping up with the latest digital marketing trends- you can find her coordinating meetings, events, and trade shows. 

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