The extensive feature set of the Shopkeep POS cluttered the interface and complicated usability.
Xenial POS running on an Android-based tablet.
Some of Alicia Hommon’s fondest memories are rooted in the kitchen. For her, nourishing food and delicious baked goodies made from home-grown ingredients constituted both a rich tradition and the heart of the home. Many people today consider this a bygone era. At The Laughing Place Bakery, Alicia is bringing that bygone era—and the welcome sense of ‘home’— back to the present.
Alicia grew up working around food in various capacities. Wanting to try her hand at business ownership, she started a baking business in a commercial kitchen she and her husband built in their garage. Although she was happy baking cakes, she nurtured the dream of opening a brick and mortar storefront.
The dream became reality in October 2015 when she opened The Laughing Place Bakery in the heart of Gladstone, Missouri. Here, along with her husband and three children, Alicia gets to do what she loves—bake. But more importantly, she is fulfilling her passion of running a business that builds community, quite literally. Through an initiative called Gladstone on the Move, visionary city leaders and business owners are giving Gladstone its very own walkable, livable, shoppable downtown core. The Laughing Place is an anchor tenant. As one of the first businesses to open here, The Laughing Place Bakery has grown along with this community-within-a-community that houses a growing number of residents of all ages including young families with children.
“Our underlying belief is that if we make building relationships and a sense of community our primary goal, then business success will be a natural result,” says Alicia Hommon, Owner, The Laughing Place Bakery.
Switch to a Better Fitting POS
Alicia opened The Laughing Place using Shopkeep point of sale. She soon found that its greatest strength (the fact that it was all-inclusive) was also the very thing that bugged her about it. “Shopkeep offered capabilities we really didn’t need for our small bakery, but there was no way to remove them,” says Hommon. “I was paying for functionality that I not only didn’t use, but that actually got in our way. I prefer things to be neat, clean, and uncluttered. Xenial is that way: streamlined, neat, and clean. This helps me and my team serve customers better, and faster.”
Easy to Learn
Alicia employs a small staff, many of them in a transitional phase of life or just starting out in the workplace. That makes for a lot of turnover. So it was important for Alicia that her POS be easy to learn. “Having a POS that doesn’t have a high learning curve or require a lot of training is super important. Xenial is so easily learned.”
Drawer Audits and Rental Model Keep Debt at Bay
Alicia firmly believes in operating debt-free. Two aspects of Xenial help her fulfill that goal. One is the ability to run an on-demand drawer audit. “Because we’re operating debt-free, today’s cash in the drawer often has to cover tomorrow’s ingredients and supplies,” says Hommon. “With Xenial, I can run a mid-day drawer audit, know about how much will be in the deposit bag that night, and run my shopping errands with confidence.”
Xenial’s rental model also helps Hommon balance her expenses to avoid debt. “I really like the Xenial rental model,” says Hommon. “Xenial lets us pay incrementally rather than financing a huge up-front capital expenditure and paying interest on top of ongoing costs. This makes POS much more accessible to small, growing businesses.”
For Hommon and The Laughing Place Bakery, Xenial is simply a better fit than Shopkeep, which included features and modules that didn’t fit the small startup.
Xenial includes everything a business needs to get going, with the option to add business management features—one at a time—as needed. “One of the main reasons that I recommend Xenial to anyone who is interested is that Xenial is both ‘right-sized’ and ‘right-priced’,” says Hommon.
Software Company and Card Processor with a (Human) Heart
For technical products and services such as POS software and credit card processing—especially when they support a family’s very livelihood—Hommon says, “Human help is essential, and I don’t want to have to work hard to find a person to talk to.”
“Xenial has been super responsive, and I love the fact that I will be working with a local Xenial reseller for my support needs going forward,” remarks Hammon.
Hommon uses Heartland card processing. “I love Heartland. The fact that I get to talk with a real person, every time—that’s huge to me,” says Hommon. “It certainly doesn’t hurt that I have a wonderful, amazing Heartland rep who somehow finds the time to stop by the bakery and check in if they haven’t heard from me in awhile. You just don’t find that in this day and age.”
Stop In. Find Home.
Xenial helps Alicia pursue her passions because she doesn’t have to worry about technology. Xenial came installed with a wifi router that provides an open wifi connection for guests that is separate from the connection used for the business. In addition, failover to a backup cell service happens automatically should the primary internet service go down. “As an owner, I never completely step away from the administration side of things. Xenial, because I don’t have to worry about it, frees me up to play to my strengths, which are creating recipes, baking, and loving on customers. That’s hugely freeing,” concludes Hommon.
Stop by The Laughing Place and rediscover home-made, and a sense of home. You’ll find a warm welcome, a tasty pastry, and maybe even a conversation with Alicia’s four-year-old son, the Official Taste Tester.