A Brief History of Halloween.

A brief history of Halloween. We posted this last year but it may become a yearly tradition to share over and over again. For example, some people may not understand what Halloween is really all about and may find it interesting. Likewise, others may just enjoy the updated images and goofiness we will add to it from year to year.

Halloween is just about here! It’s one of our favorite days of the year! Why do we dress up? What’s the deal with trick or treating? Why do we carve pumpkins? Have you ever wondered how Halloween started and what traditions continued through the years? What has changed or has been phased out? Read further to find out more.    

Photo of a scary clown with a red nose.
Jack O Lantern Gif
History

So, Halloween technically began as the festival of Samhain. Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “darker half” or winter as we know it. The festival takes places October 31 – November 1. Celts believed that on the night before the new year (November 1), the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred or thin. Scary stuff!

Most importantly, they would have big parties or feasts and dress in costumes because they believed it would scare away the ghosts and spirits. Do you see the correlation? Consequently, we then get to America, where we traditionalize everything and make carving pumpkins and trick or treating super popular. Meanwhile, let’s talk about trick or treating.

So, way back when, young women believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings, or mirrors. Subsequently, it then trickled down to young children dressing up and getting candy from neighbors.

Did you know?

One quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween. So, do you carve pumpkins? Do you go the traditional scary route or do something fun and different? Are you the type of person that will hand out candy to little kids or keep the light off? Speaking of modifying traditions, there are parents that have a basket of candy for kids, and a basket of beer for the parents that go around with them. In conclusion, that is a modern twist on a tradition that we can get down with!  

Costumes?

What’s the coolest costumes you have? Send us photos and we’ll share them on social media! We hope you enjoy our little Brief History of Halloween!  

An orange Happy Halloween image with black scary font. A Brief History of Halloween.

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Things That Are Happening

Just a quick blog to discuss some things that are happening at double 7’s lately. Yes, we’ve made it through the worst part of the pandemic. Certainly, our hope is that your business is making it happen too! Most importantly though, we hope everyone is safe.

Come Together

It seems like some local business is slowly starting to come back to a little normalcy. Although, we’re not sure how long it will last. We’ll continue to hope for normalcy again though!

All of this craziness (protests, racism, rioting, police problems, government overreach, and stupid virus stuff) needs to stop. When are we going to come together as a society and simply focus on being unified?

All of us (in the U.S.) live in the greatest country in the world (despite what some may say) and we need to treat each other with respect and dignity. To sum up, that’s all we’ll say about any of that. So, go be good to one another. Period.

Things that are happening. White 77 Design Co logo
Treat each other well.
Things We Are Working On

Through the mess, 77 Design Co has managed to maintain consistent stability and even picked up a few new projects. Helping business is what we do, and our overall goal is to grow each company that we work with.

Some of the new things that are happening with 77 include:

* A new website for a health insurance agency.

* A new website for a local spa.

* Social media management for an RHVAC company.

* Product and commercial photography for a manufacturer.

* Likewise, possibly a new website for that same manufacturer.

* Video project for a local church organization.

* Print catalog design for another manufacturer.

And a few more projects in the works.

In other words, it’s been kind of busy lately. It excites us to see some business owners forging ahead with their marketing plans! Additionally, it also excites us to see some business closing in on normal operations.

These last six months have been trying for everyone, but there needs to be a point where you say “forget it, move ahead.” Or, your business could be shackled like in the below image.

Things that are happening. Design of a shackled man in a suit to a large weight.
Don’t shackle your business.

Need ideas on how to kick start your business? Our FREE marketing consultation is offered to any business looking to get on the right track. https://77designco.com/services-2/

77Design Co logo and business cards.

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Marketing Success Stories

Marketing success stories. How about some optimism? Because racial tensions, increased Covid cases, stupid politics, government mandates, business closures, riots, and everything else in the news is usually bad. So, let’s talk positivity.

Marketing success stories. Marketing Scrabble tiles and a 77 Design Co business card.
Marketing helps!

In this uncertain and crippled economic climate, some businesses have managed success. Despite the difficulties now your business needs to stay relevant. Marketing does that! On a micro level, a few places locally have seen an uptick in business due to continued marketing. We’ll share a few stories with you this week.

Story 1

One of the marketing success stories we’ll share is a local brewery. As a result of a social media training program, this local brewery is seeing a surge in engagement. Consequently, this has improved sales.

Customers consistently come in and say, “Hey, we follow you on Facebook.” Likewise, they’ll hear “we love your Facebook videos” or share similar comments. Awesome! We love to hear it!

Brewery: We were never open to retail before. Recently, we opened a pop up beer garden and we went from 0% retail to selling about the same as wholesale. Our business is selling more merchandise too. Social media is keeping us going. For instance, our engagement is now between 800-1200 per post versus the 60-200 we’d get before. That’s a big increase! It’s growing daily too. Likes and shares have increased as well. This varies post to post.

Another success we’ve seen is brand awareness. Most people didn’t know about us before. As a result of our consistent social media posting many people tell us they know all about our beers now. Facebook and Instagram are really helping. We’re more informed and educated about what we are doing now. http://www.sobbrews.com

Marketing Success Stories. Dollar bills and coins laying on glass with the 77 Design Co business card.
Story 2

Food is essential. We all know that. Everyone needs food to survive. A local food service company that we work with has taken the pitfalls of this pandemic and turned it into a way to increase business while also taking better care of their customers. They have utilized their customizable food packages to ensure the safety of their customers simultaneously. How? Offer great food, have it delivered, and never leave home for it.

Marketing success stories. Sirloin beef tip roast photograph.

Food Service Company: Our current success directly correlates with our social media program. Before the pandemic we did our best, but now its more tightened. Our pages are fun AND informative now. Creative photos and videos help tremendously. New likes and shares are common on a daily basis.

Messages come in multiple times daily. It’s sometimes overwhelming how many we get. Existing customers want to order more food. New customers want to learn more about our products.

Facebook and Instagram have been huge. Sales have increased 50-60% over last year. That’s the trend so far, though it may be higher by years end. That has translated into a massive increase in revenue, but we’d rather not state an exact dollar amount. https://proniosfoods.com

Story 3

We won’t get too deep into this marketing success story, but a few parishes in the local area that we work with have also seen improvements. Pre COVID numbers had increased giving, but more importantly to them, more member engagement.

These churches wanted ways of reaching their parishioners better to pass along the Word of God and they’ve been utilizing social media and user friendly website updates to do that. Email marketing (or as one church official says, “email evangelization”) has helped them reach those who cannot attend masses. It has also kept their parishes up to date on all the happenings. All of these are great ways to spread their message and stay in front of their beloved members.

If you need marketing help, drop us a line. We’ll help any way we can. https://77designco.com

Analyze. Create. Achieve.

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A Week Away

By Bobby Drakulic-A Week Away

A week away gave me some perspective last week. As some of you may know, I actually took a vacation to the Myrtle area in South Carolina last week. We usually don’t take a “yearly” vacation like many do, but when we do I tune out for a week…if possible.

Taking a week away from Pennsylvania, and all the craziness that is our state, allowed me to take in life elsewhere. On the trip down and back I noticed a few things that really got me thinking. We’ll get to that soon.

My vacation!

However, I’d like to share a few fun things we did do. Firstly, I fished. I fished like a mad man! That is my favorite all time thing to do at the ocean. Nothing clears my mind more than taking a few hours to battle the elements and the powerful ocean fish. From my perspective, it is a meditative experience like no other. I always come back more clear headed and relaxed, even if the bite is off.

Secondly, we enjoyed crab legs. Another all time favorite of mine. If you visit the Myrtle Beach area and like seafood, try Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant. Visit here https://captaingeorges.com. Highly recommend. The crab legs were fantastic! The rest of the buffet looked awesome too, but admittedly crab is all I ate…and lots of them!

Next, I practiced my Kung Fu. Every single day on the beach or balcony for at least twenty minutes to an hour. The consistent practice helps me stay disciplined, balanced, and focused both mentally and physically. Something I feel very strongly about is staying in shape (as much as I can) and on top of my trainings.

Finally, we relaxed. Man, did my mind need that! We hung out on the beach and balcony most of the week. This included boogie boarding, swimming, digging in the sand, and of course some adult beverages.

The point of all this?

I’ll be making my point on this blog soon, so be sure to read on. However, I’m going to go full on geek first and share a few vacation photos below:

A Week Away. Palm trees with an orange and colorful sky background.
Palms at Dusk
Image of a 17 pound 37 inch King Mackerel.
King Mackerel
A Week Away. Photograph of the morning sunrise and cloud cover over the Atlantic Ocean.
Morning at Sea
A Week Away. Photograph of Bobby Drakulic on the beach fishing in black and white swim trunks.
Bobby doing his favorite thing ever…surf fishing.
A Week Away. Photograph of boats docked at sunrise in the marina.
Image of the surf waves rippling in.
Wave Ripples
Photograph of Marlboro County court house in the morning.
Cool looking court house
Photograph of a single palm tree at dusk.
How does any of this relate to a marketing business?

It doesn’t. I just felt like adding some images and my little vacation story to draw your eyes down here…

The real reason I am writing this blog is because, as mentioned above, I noticed a few things during the trip. I did not like what I saw either. It was closed businesses.

It got me thinking.

On the drive both ways, I noticed entirely too many empty business shops. Some looked recently vacated. Some seemed to be out of business long ago. Either way, I noticed these and it made my heart hurt. Owning a small business is a difficult thing. It’s not easy. We know that as well as anyone too.

The cause?

I’m not sure of the cause of these closures. I’ll admit that first and foremost. What I do know is that small business across our great country has been decimated in the last several months. Mismanagement? Maybe. Low sales? Probably. Did Covid play a hand in some of these closures? By the looks of things, probably, in at least a few.

A Week Away. Image of a red and white empty gas station.
Empty gas station

Even if I don’t like the business, feel that it’s overly expensive, or I am not confident in their service, I certainly don’t wish failure on it. Every small business owner has mouths to feed and regular payments to make like almost everybody else.

Avoid failure!

So, avoiding small business failure is hard. A lot depends on what you offer, how well, pricing, the market you are in, management of the business, and many other factors. There is one thing that can help. Yep, I’m saying it, marketing.

Despite all the hardships business owners face, marketing is one thing that can help tremendously. Some of the world’s worst businesses in my eyes (worst is subjective though) still do well. Why? They advertise and market like crazy.

You know them. Big corporate places that sometimes make you feel unimportant as a customer. They are all over the television, billboards, in magazines, pop up ads on Facebook etc. I don’t mean to bash corporations, they are just the most noticeable here. I’ll also reiterate that it’s not ALL just some. Each of us know who we’ve dealt with that stink, and who are good.

Your small business.

Competing with the millions or even billions of dollars that go into advertising of larger companies is another difficult hurdle. Smaller businesses may not have that capital. What can you do?

Local.

Take it to a local level. Start out small, test the waters on a local level and see how you do. Despite what many marketers say, it doesn’t have to cost a bundle to get the word out. Work with what you’ve got and expand from there. Just stay in front of customers regularly. Consistency is everything.

Marketing tactics.

Below are some things you can do so that consumers can see and hear about your business and what you offer regularly:

  • Social media. Devise a plan to share interesting stories, photos, and videos to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or more. Social media engagement is way up right now too.
  • Print ads. Many claim print is dead. We aren’t ready to throw in the towel on that just yet. Depending on the publication, service/product you offer, and a variety other aspects, print could be a huge help.
  • Digital marketing. Remember when I said above “pop up ads on Facebook?” There is a wide range of digital marketing tactics you can try. Geofencing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) to name a few.
  • Radio ads. Yes we know, AM/FM isn’t what it used to be. On the other hand, radio can still be effective. You can also advertise on streaming services like Pandora or Spotify, etc. Create a catchy tune or slogan that people will remember long after they shut the radio off.
  • Direct mail. This goes along with print but goes straight to peoples homes or businesses. You can design an attractive piece with a killer offer that will ultimately lead to more calls, emails, or sales. With direct mail you can also custom select areas and other demographics to get your pieces in the hands of the right customer.

We are big believers in the power of marketing, if done right. Don’t fail your business by not getting its message out concisely, effectively, and consistently. For the love of God, please don’t let me see anymore business storefronts closed like the image below.

Image of a closed white colored business with a wooden roof.
I hate seeing closed businesses.

If you need help, drop us a line. We’ll help any way we can. https://77designco.com

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Analyze. Create. Achieve.

Interview John A Cochran, Esq.

This weeks Interview John A Cochran, Esq. discusses a little about what his firm is experiencing due to COVID-19. John is an attorney in Greensburg, PA and has been in the legal field for fifteen years. As an accountant combined, he’s been in the tax profession for thirty-four years. He practices tax, estate, and business law.

John’s love of numbers and knowledge of all things taxes makes him a versatile attorney able to help individuals and businesses alike. Let’s see what John had to say about taxes and law during this Coronavirus situation in his Interview John A Cochran, Esq…

Interview John A Cochran, Esq. Image of John sitting at a desk in a dark gray suit coat and dark tie.
John A Cochran, Esq.
Question 1:

77 Design Co: Let’s get right to it. How has this COVID-19 stuff affected your practice?

John A Cochran, Esq: Oh, it’s drawn things to a crawl. Firstly, the government closed the IRS, or rather, they are working from home. This makes it difficult to get ahold of anyone. So, their responses are lacking.

They extended filing deadlines until July. This has stretched out what was due in April. A lot of businesses I work with are shutdown or constricted. As a result, that’s made my practice constricted as well.

Interview John A Cochran, Esq. Photograph of John sitting at a desk in a pink dress shirt.
Question 2:

77: You’ve been open through all of this? Why?

JAC: I’m a CPA as well as an attorney. Also, the Governors Order didn’t apply being that I’m the only employee.

Question 3:

77: So, can you explain a little about how this crisis changed taxes or tax laws?

JAC: There’s the Employee Retention Credit to keep employees on. That’s a 50% refundable tax credit. Filing and extended tax dates have been changed. Penalties have been waved for late fees. The second estimate is due June fifteenth, and the first estimate is July fifteenth. Go figure.

Question 4:

77: Further, do you have any tax advice for anyone reading?

JAC: Yea. I’ll say get your stuff done regardless of extensions. Don’t wait. Then, I will also say, in order for compliance for the PPP you have to file taxes. If you get a line of credit from a non-government source you’ll still have to have the taxes done.

Photograph of John A Cochran, Esq business card and calculator laying on tax forms.
John A Cochran, Esq business card and calculator.
Question 5:

77: Have you spoken to any of your local or regional colleagues? How are other attorneys doing through all of this?

JAC: Everyone I’ve spoken to, with the courthouses shut down, nobody really knows what’s going on. A lot have reluctantly laid off employees. It’s thrown everything out of whack. Meanwhile, hearings and meetings by phone or video, in some instances, is proving difficult on all parties involved.

Question 6:

77: Additionally, you mentioned business and estate law. Generally, how can your services help others with these?

JAC: Well, I can work on estate plannings. We still have to get their assets to the beneficiaries that they want them to get to.

With business, for example, everyone’s kind of upside down. Business is hurting everywhere. For that reason, I’ll give them whatever advice I can with a free consult. Any way I can help I will. I’ve been dealing with businesses for thirty five years, so there’s some experience there. Finally, if you need business law advice, give me a call.

Question 7:

77: We always end these interviews on a positive note. Can you tell us something positive that you’ve noticed during these times?

JAC: So, I think businesses in the U.S. are resilient. Look at the stock markets. People are still buying. Next, the U.S. economy is resilient. We will all get through this mess.

Interview John A Cochran, Esq. Image of the John A Cochran, Esquire sticker on his law office front door.
A word from 77:

Thanks to John for taking the time to talk with us for this: Interview John A Cochran, Esq. Here is John’s website. You can check out more about him and his services here: https://www.jacochranlaw.com

To sum up, we’ve mentioned in our last blog, law is of significant importance to us here at 77. We see what our attorney friends go through and the extensive amounts of work involved. There’s also reasons why hiring one is not always the least expensive thing you can do. However, we highly respect them and their dedication to their practice. When the dust settles, subsequently, it will be the attorneys and judges rulings that will define what is happening with these COVID situations.

On a daily basis, attorneys can help with almost any situation in life. Whether it’s a divorce, business, criminal, tax, estate, or the myriad other amounts of laws being practiced, they can be of great importance. Our advice, when you find a great attorney for any situation you need help with, treat them well. They could wind up helping you more than you’d ever imagine.

Conclusion:

77 Design Co. is committed to helping small business succeed. We want to help keep their doors open, and keep roofs over their family’s heads. Keeping your business alive during this mess is crucial.

Finally, contact us if you own a business, or know of a business owner that needs marketing help. We are volunteering work at heavily discounted rates (or in some instances free) to keep business stable in our county and local area. Any way we can help, we will.

Additionally, here’s our services: https://77designco.com/services-2/

77 Design Co logo

Interview-Straight-Up Bar Consulting

Interview-Straight-Up Bar Consulting. Dee Bertison is the owner of Straight-Up Bar Consulting, LLC located in Johnstown, PA. She has owned Straight-Up for roughly six months. She received licensing at the end of September in 2019.

Interview-Straight-Up Bar Consulting. Image of Dee Bertison in a black sweater and blue shirt offering free bartending lessons on Facebook.
Dee giving bartending lessons on her Straight-Up Bar Consulting Facebook page. Give it a “like.”

In the same vein as many other businesses, these COVID-19 closures have greatly impacted her business. Certainly, bars and restaurants can benefit tremendously from her services and expertise once they all reopen. Most importantly, these establishments will need new ways to attract and retain customers upon reopening. Let’s hear what Dee has to say in this Interview-Straight-Up Bar Consulting.

Question 1:

77 Design Co: What is Straight-Up Bar Consulting? Tell us a few things you do.

Dee Bertison: So, I’d start with expert bar consulting. However, I also offer industry training, bar solutions, hospitality training, and beverage programs.

Question 2:

77: What’s your experience in the bar and restaurant industry?

DB: In short, I have twenty-five years of experience in the industry. I’ve seen a lot in that time. I’m an innovator in drink menus. Also, I can manage employees, customers, and spirits.

Photograph of Dee Bertison bartending with a dark gray hat and sweater on.
Dee Bertison bartending.
Question 3:

77: So, very much like the show Bar Rescue. Likewise, where do you draw the lines though from what they do on the show versus what you do?

DB: <laughs> So, first off I don’t yell at people! I’m a pretty nice person, I think.

Unfortunately though, I don’t do complete full bar makeovers. I love John Taffer’s program. He manages well. However, he also has a full staff behind him. I don’t have that full staff to handle complete renovations, manage demographics, traffic, and everything else.

Interview-Straight-Up Bar Consulting. Image of logo with red martini, wine, and whiskey glasses.
Straight-Up Bar Consulting, LLC logo.
Question 4:

77: Who would you like to meet? In other words, who’s the best connections for your business?

DB: Above all, bar owners. However, I would also like to meet bartenders and managers that make the decisions. They can connect me to the bar owner too.

Question 5:

77: Obviously with the COVID closures of bars, this means 0 work (or at least, minimal.) What can bar owners plan to do ahead of openings?

DB: I think right now, a deep cleaning. For instance, cleaning areas that may be overlooked during busy times. Secondly, I think construction and repairs should be done now too. Some of these get neglected during normal business operations. Bars can also be planning menus and events right now.

Question 6:

77: We try to keep things fun and positive. Tell us the craziest bar story. However, try to keep it PG-13 if possible.

DB: Oh my God! <laughs> I’m not sure I can answer this! Almost all the stories are not PG-13. I’ll just give one that I know isn’t too bad.

So, one night there was a line at the mens restroom. It was a busy night. While in line, one patron was becoming impatient and just punched the guy in front of him so he could use the restroom next. Knocked him out! He then took his place and just used the restroom.

As a result afterwards the guy bought the guy that he punched a drink. They talked and had a drink together. He wasn’t a complete jerk in the end.

Question 7:

77: Your favorite drink?

DB: I love Ketel One Vodka with water and a lemon. Or, I do like a good Lemon Drop too. Pretty simple.

Interview-Straight-Up Bar Consulting. Dee Bertison's favorite drink, an image of Ketel One Vodka and a yellow lemon slice in a martini glass.
Dee’s favorite drink.

77: Anything you’d like to add?

DB: I’ll end with our tagline, “Stay in Good Spirits!”

A word from 77:

We met Dee at a SCORE workshop several months ago. 77 liked her business model thought it was a great idea, and even more so now with bars and restaurants closed to patrons. These businesses will need all the help they can get. Upon returning to normalcy, Straight-Up Bar Consulting will be able to help provide new ideas and new beverages to these locations. This can essentially give customers a product and service they hadn’t had prior to this COVID situation. Thanks to Dee for the, Interview-Straight-Up Bar Consulting. Check out more about Straight-Up here: https://straightupbarconsulting.com

77 Design Co. is committed to helping small business succeed. We want to keep their doors open, and keep roofs over their family’s heads. Keeping your business alive during this mess is crucial.

Finally, contact us if you own a business, or know of a business owner that needs marketing help. We are volunteering work at heavily discounted rates (or in some instances free) to keep business stable in our county and local area. Any way we can help, we will.

Additionally, here’s our services: https://77designco.com/services-2/

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Analyze. Create. Achieve.