Redwood City's Villa Roma will celebrate its fourth anniversary this weekend - and owners Tami Barbara and Diane Blair decided they wanted to do it any way but ordinary.
Barbara and Blair decided it was time to kick things up a notch with their beloved business - so, they hired Silicon Valley businesswoman Debbie Quintana to help them improve their look, attract newer, younger customers, and bring their business into the 21st century.
In essence, they said, they wanted to help raise the bar for Redwood City bar businesses.
"We took a look at our image from a variety of angles and realized that we’re falling into the trap of accepting an 'as-is' business,'" said Barbara. “We decided we didn’t just want to be a bar, we wanted to be the 'bar to be at,' attracting new customers and giving our existing regulars a better experience."
"We realized that in order for our business to grow, we needed to have a marketing plan and create promotions that will bring new customers into the bar," she added.
Quintana is no stranger to Villa Roma, so Barbara and Blair felt she seemed like the perfect woman for the job.
"I’ve been coming to the Villa Roma for years, and knew exactly what I appreciated and what needed improvement," Quintana said. "It was easy for me to combine my personal experience and professional marketing expertise and help them become a better business."
Quintana started by sending in secret shoppers to judge the staff's customer service, and then trained them accordingly.
She also asked the owners take a fresh look at their physical environment from the perspective of a new customer, and then created a list of recommended improvement projects that Quintana said both owners "embraced with a high level of energy and excitement."
But an overhaul of their physical environment and a new marketing game plan weren't the only new elements that developed at Villa Roma - the staff also came to realize the importance of giving back to their community.
Each month now, the owners have been organizing some sort of charitable collection or donation program.
In November, the staff collected coats for One Warm Coat, and in December, Toys for Tots.
"If we all do a little, it will make a big difference," said Barbara.
Fast forward just three months since Quintana came on board, and Villa Roma has a stronger online presence with social networking, new carpeting and seating, more types of entertainment, and even a fresh new cocktail menu.
But most important, Villa Roma managed to do one very important thing, Quintana said - maintain its friendly, neighborhood feel.
"I’ve been coming to The Villa Roma for many, many years, and I always feel at home when I’m here. It’s what keeps me coming back," said longtime patron, Ron Estrada. "The changes that have been made are just the icing on the cake."
See our short video interview with Villa Roma owners Tami Barbara and Diane Blair, with footage of the bar's new look, above.
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