Recently Google celebrated their 10th anniversary. In honor of their birthday, they posted one of their oldest indexes. A search unearthed The FruitGuys very first webpage and a flashback to the early days. Where were you 10 years ago?
Back in 1998, I had an office in North Beach, next to Tosca and across from City Lights bookstore – if you know the neighborhood. It was a 10’ x 10’ room where I did graphics for local businesses. Chris Mittelstaedt dropped by seeking some help getting a logo and materials together for a new business venture. Chris’ idea was to deliver fresh fruit to office workers in downtown San Francisco. It was the boom days of the dot com, and for many long hours, workers were fueled on coffee and chocolate. Fresh fruit snacks for office workers! Get rid of the chocolate-covered espresso beans and the Jolt Cola! It doesn’t take a weatherman to see which way the winds blows: it was a great idea.
We got to work, coming up with a starter logo, website, and a newsletter to be inserted in the fruit crates. Sometimes Chris would bring his son Luc and we’d portage the stroller up to the 2nd floor. Our approach was guerrilla marketing: our tools were copiers and fax machines. We envisioned a logo on the side of a real truck, instead of the Honda that Chris used to make his first deliveries. The website was very basic. Now looking at it through the lens of the way-back machine it seems an old prom photo. What’s with the hair? Does anyone remember “frames enabled?” And when we called it the “World Wide” Web?
Over the last decade, The FruitGuys customer list has grown and there have been upgrades: nationwide delivery, an eco-friendly fruit crate, wellness programs for offices, community outreach, farm stewardship, and an email newsletter. Yet the message is still the same: fresh fruit at the office is food that works and makes employees feel valued and motivated. You spend most of your time at work; take steps to get healthier while you’re there. The FruitGuys use their farm-direct connections to bring their customers interesting regional fruit and stories about the farmers at www.fruitguys.com.
Do not be afraid to go out on a limb… That’s where the fruit is.