Blogs - 1223 views

How Tanka Bar Plans to Thrive During Economic Turmoil
2009-06-28
By Mark K. Tilsen, assistant director of marketing

Posted Dec. 12, 2008

Bookmark and Share

Thanksgiving was week before last with Black Friday and its online brother, Cyber Monday, following. If you have never gotten up early to go to the mall for Black Friday, it's worth going just to get wrapped up in the buying madness.

In the next month, more money will be spent than at any time of the year on retail purchases. People are taking out loans to buy presents for their kids, while the guys on Wall Street are hoping we spend enough to give the economy a shot in the arm.

Effects on Pine Ridge Reservation


Here, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the results of the Economic Meltdown are very subtle. Most of us don't have investment portfolios or retirement funds. Some people joke that Dow Jones is just a football team on a really bad losing streak.

Because of fewer people buying things, fewer things are shipped and less fuel is used to ship them. This gives a surplus of fuel on the market and this is why gas is cheaper now. This is what they tell me at least. But beyond cheap gasoline, it's hard to see how this affects us here.

For a gas station or small shopping center on the reservation, it's a bit different. Their customers are built into the community where their store is, and the isolation gives the store a certain leverage over its customers. You can shop here or drive 30 to 100 miles somewhere else.

But for Tanka Bar, we don't have that luxury, And by our nature, we are competing against ourselves and against the world. We sell to whoever has money and is ready to buy from almost anywhere.

To get a good feel for this weird crisis, I turn to public radio: Marketplace and This American Life. Marketplace brings the huge concepts into sharp focus in a way that is pretty easy to understand. This
American Life has produced two shows: The Global Pool of Money and Another Show about the Economy.

These radio programs go over in bone-crunching detail how, at every step, from potential homeowners borrowing more than they could afford ,to the bankers overeager to sell their loans off, to the regulators who turned a blind eye, there was a breakdown of responsibility. Greed took over and it was a wild ride while it lasted. It had to end sometime.

What is Tanka Bar doing?


Now that I think I have a feel about how this economic crises happened, the more important question is what do we do now? As a young start-up company just celebrating our first year of having Tanka Bar on the shelf, we are in a tenuous position.

Our plan is threefold and exciting. Being a small and versatile company, we can do things that would take larger companies months if not years to accomplish. Being the little guy has its perks sometimes.

First, we are creating partnerships with some of the major players in the natural food industry. So far, we have only one product and we more or less sell to people outside of their ordinary way of buying things.

Most retail locations buy only what they need from distributors so as not to take up too much room for storage. We are now going to go through those Major Distributors to get into more places. More locations, more customers, more All Tanka All The Time!

Second, we have some new products coming out. We have been putting our heads together and trying to find what would be the next big thing for us. We have been researching new recipes and the prototypes have been delicious! We have had our Tanka Bar mad scientists, meat artisans, and small army of Tanka taste testers working 'round the clock to bring you the next level of what Tanka can be.

So what are these new-fangled products of Tanka greatness? Well, I can't say just yet. lol! Sorry, but this is still under wraps right now, but I will tell you that you are going to love 'em!

Third, we have been kicking around the idea of how to get you in the game. That's right. We want you to be part of the Tanka Experience. We want you to help promote our brand and sell our product online. And we want you to make some cash doing it.

This new experiment in expanding our team is called Team Tanka. We envision Team Tanka like a 21st century version of Girl Scout cookies, without the unhealthy snacks, funny lookin' uniforms or door knocking.

OK, maybe it's not that similar. We will be unveiling the details of Team Tanka next month and the best part is that anyone who wants to be a part of it is welcome.

We're not waiting on the economy


Through our partnerships, new distributors and Team Tanka, we are creating more tools to help you get Tanka Bars where you want them. Before, it was a hard sell one store at a time, but now the process will be more streamlined with more people working with us toward our goal.

The upshot of all this is that we, here at Tanka Bar, are not waiting for today's economy to determine our future. The time for a national Native American brand has come, and we're not going to give up on our dream to share our history, our culture and our food with the world.

Thank you again for all of your patience and support. We couldn't do any of this without you.

Wopila.



No facebook? Leave comments here.
Name/Alias
Comments
To confirm you are a human, what is 9 + 8 :

Previous Comments