Name of Business: Coffee News Maryland
Point of Contact: Angela & Tom Balsamo
Length of time business has been operating: Almost 16 years
Description of Business: Coffee News is the only weekly, category-exclusive publication in the DMV. We have 5 editions throughout Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, and Howard Counties. Coffee News can be found in places that consumers are waiting while they are actively spending disposable income! The print publication is just the tip of the iceberg though. We actively promote our advertising partners on all our social media platforms… Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google. Plus, we’re active members of 5 additional Chambers and several other networking groups. We network to enhance our advertising partners visibility in the community, so they can focus in and on their business (although we love when they join us out for networking).
Your Business Mission Statement
Our mission is to offer weekly, category-exclusive advertising at the best value in the Baltimore market. Through our affordable publication, we will provide our clients with a local, community approach to advertising, while still helping to expose them in areas beyond the county borders. Promotion of our clients will extend outside the normal distribution of Coffee News as we will actively promote them through our vast networking in area chambers, business groups, and community associations. Our goal is for Coffee News, and subsequently our clients, to be seen everywhere.
What’s Your Why?
Helping business owners navigate the obstacles of promoting themselves because that’s something we wished we had with our previous businesses.
Quick little story to explain why that’s our why…. Angela and Tom launched in January 2007 after almost a decade of owning and operating 3 retail franchises. They expanded into Howard County (where they both grew up) in March 2015. Throughout their first business venture, Tom and Angela invested a great deal of time and money to promote their businesses throughout the communities they served. It was stressful, expensive, and at times frustrating trying to decide if something was “working” or not. The same lessons they learned from purchasing advertising and marketing for their businesses, Tom and Angela have applied to promoting Coffee News and working with their clients to help them get the most "bang for their buck". Being a business owner is stressful enough. They want to help ease the burden of the confusing and ever evolving marketing space that can often cost business owners more money than they bargained for leaving them short on funds to implement a solid marketing plan. They know what it’s like to take money off the kitchen table to make payroll. They know what it’s like to have the allure of a shiny marketing piece dangling in front of you with promises of big returns, but the reality of the bank account just doesn’t make it possible. They know what it’s like to be part of a co-op that pours hundreds of thousands of dollars into television ads, only for those ads to get bumped to terrible time slots because another business came along and paid more for the prime-time slots. We’ve been there. Not a lot of other people in our industry can say that, but we can.
What sets your business apart from others?
Isn’t it kind of obvious by now. 😉 Seriously though. We’re the antithesis of print advertising. You can change your ad for FREE as often as you’d like. We don’t have premium pricing. No on-the-thumb, top right hand corner, color, double page/ad, etc. Same playing field for everyone. Every single reader actually wants to read the paper, because they’re willingly picking it up. Our social media is about our partners. We encourage multiple forms of advertising (within the budget that make sense for your business).
What are some of the personal rewards that come from your business?
Gosh, what a great question. The friends we’ve made who have become like family. The knowing that if we ever needed something, we have surrounded ourselves with people who would drop everything to be there for us. It’s such a comfort to know that while it’s just the two of us, we’re really not in business alone.
How long have you been a chamber member? Almost 16 years!
What benefits have you experienced with your chamber membership?
We’ve met some great friends, had some wonderful experiences and memories that will last a lifetime, been able to help advertising partners and friends solve problems because someone we met through the Chamber was the person to save the day, and we’ve found a community of like-minded individuals who get us and that’s priceless.
Do you offer any discounts?
We do offer Chamber members a discount on advertising. Plus, we buy you coffee (or beverage of choice) often! Oh, and we publicize community events that your business, church, school, or community group are hosting for FREE.