LANCASTER — Fuller’s Sugarhouse, a family-owned company on Route 3 with a second facility on Route 2 in Jefferson near the Randolph Community Forest, is one of 58 businesses — at least one from every state — highlighted in Google’s 10th annual "Economic Impact Report."
The full report, available online at economicimpact.google.com, showcases how those selected for inclusion utilize Google’s search and advertising tools to connect with the people and communities they serve.
As part of recognizing this business, co-owners Patti and Dave Fuller — a husband-and-wife team — were invited to attend the Grow with Google Business Meetup in May in San Francisco.
Since Dave knew he would be too busy then selling maple-sugaring equipment to leave the North Country, the couple asked Pam Sullivan of Sullivan Creative of Concord, a full-service marketing agency, to fill the vacancy.
Patti and Pam spent three days primarily on the Google campus, listening to various speakers discuss new specialized online tools as well as networking with the other businesses included in the 10th annual report.
This year, small businesses generated $671 million in economic activity in New Hampshire using Google tools, and $335 billion nationwide, according to a company press release. “For small businesses in the U.S., the web is the most powerful tool to attract new customers and support existing ones,” said Mary Ellen Coe, president of Google Customer Solutions. “We are proud that our search and advertising tools helped Fuller’s Sugarhouse grow and contribute to the economy of New Hampshire.”
This Coos business — originally named Martin Meadow Maples — moved onto Route 3 in 1997 when Dave Fuller and his dad, Albert, built a brand-new on-the-edge-of-downtown sugarhouse that incorporated the historic adzed rafters from Babe’s Bowling Alley, then being torn down. Success selling more of their high-quality maple products in this new, more visible location allowed Patti to leave her “day job” so she could organize, stock and staff a gift shop in this commodious building, built to accommodate both boiling sap into maple syrup and serving retail customers.
The couple understood, however, that this rural area above the notches alone could not support their growing maple operation, and that they would have to take their sugaring expertise and products well beyond northern New Hampshire in order to reach more customers. Thanks mostly to advice from Sullivan Creative, the couple turned to a suite of Google products to expand their reach to both retail and wholesale customers.
Fuller’s uses a combination of Google products to reach targeted audiences online. Google Ad Words optimize web searches and Google My Business displays Fuller’s hours and location on Google Maps and Google Search, making it easy for customers to find the sugarhouse.
Google Analytics is an essential tool that allows them to track website results immediately and helps them determine where to spend their marketing dollars.
Google’s products help Fuller’s Sugarhouse develop specific markets. As a consultant to prospective maple syrup producers, many of whom also ultimately buy equipment from Fuller’s, Dave uses Google Earth to pinpoint specific areas across the region to determine whether or not they would be good sites to develop a sugar bush. Advertising can also target businesses that use maple syrup as an ingredient in their products, such as breweries that use maple syrup in their brews.
“Economically, Google has been integral to our growth,” Dave said. “We are experts in producing high-quality maple syrup but we needed to find a partner who could help us reach a broader market and that’s when we engaged Google’s suite of products, which we’ve been using for over 10 years. We have customers in Switzerland, France, Australia, Brazil and Mexico.”
He noted that in 2018, the business saw 22 percent year-over-year revenue growth with the assistance of Google products.
Fuller’s Sugarhouse now employs 12 people, five of whom are family members, and produces up to 9,000 gallons of pure maple syrup each year. Dave also sells maple sugaring equipment to other producers.
“I was very impressed during our three-day visit — organized and paid for by them — that Google listened closely to Pam and me and really respected us as customers who they serve,” Patti said. “They arranged business roundtables where we could listen to the challenges others have experienced and learn from them and share our story. Many of the other companies were fast-growing and had only been in business four or five years. I hadn’t realized how many other companies Google owns, and I expect we’ll learn to utilize YouTube.”
Patti had not been to California previously, and she enjoyed the food tour held on the last day and a chance to enjoy Chinese ginger beer and a Peking duck appetizer. “It was a wonderful chance to see a great city with a diverse population and a variety of cultures,” she explained. “I really loved the building murals, too.”
To support more small businesses, Google launched its “Grow with Google” initiative to help create economic opportunity across the country, according to its press release. Drawing on Google’s history of building products, platforms and services designed to help people and businesses grow, the initiative aims to provide customers with access to the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers and businesses. For more information about these resources, go online to grow.google. Dave and Pam spoke about their digital experience at the “Grow with Google” tour that attracted 85 local businesses, nonprofits and job seekers to free workshops and sessions on Wednesday, May 30, at the Fortier Library at White Mountains Community College in Berlin.