Gary Hirshberg “stirred it up” at Passion for Retail Conference

Renewal Partners investee, Gary Hirshberg, closed Retail BC’s 2009 Passion for Retail Conference with an empowering keynote presentation in Vancouver last week. Gary is the Chairman, President, and CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm and an advisor to Renewal2 Investment Fund. Gary shared his story and walked the audience through some of the realities of today’s environment and food production before explaining his “Continuum of Sustainability” and sharing examples and tips of how a business can incrementally start changing towards more sustainable practices.

“I believe the ultimate holy grail to success is to create loyalty,” he says, “you need to connect with your customers, touch them.” He went on to explain that, “since adversting dollars are on the decline, we find other ways to communicate with consumers. Point of sale communication is huge for us. We talk about our values, we share our story, and we show what we do. But most importantly and what ultimately sells is a good, healthy, tasty yoghurt.” Stonyfield comes up with all sorts of creative ways to share its message and engage in dialogue with its consumers, which may range from gimmicks such as using yoghurt lids to hand out bumper stickers or send activist messages for governments, to blogging with a farmer, to “adopt a cow” campaigns. Gary ended with a simple challenge for us audience members by saying, “Why not?”

Check out Gary’s Book – Stirring It Up and learn more about how Gary built a successful $300 million-per-year-business by incorporating environmental principles and practices.