Making Connections with “The 3 Good Facets”
When we first started out, we set out to cancel out the “digital divide” and worked on establishing an online shopping cart system (iBLOCK SHOP) for e-commerce companies, and developed websites for many other organizations. We also created software for business including e-mail / direct mail marketing (MM Assist) programs.
Following this, we opened our own online shop and began selling many kinds of products, but the one with the highest year-on-year demand and consequent return was fresh, in-shell oysters (Farm Fresh Oysters Direct Delivery "Umaikakiya").
Now, using the knowledge we gained from this online venture, we've added other specialty stores for products like strawberries.
Before all this, the president of our company worked as a 7-Eleven franchise owner and managed a physical store, putting himself in customers' shoes and analyzing store data, for over 15 years. In addition to these experiences, he also worked in the food service industry, second-hand goods, and the home delivery sector, which have further deepened his understanding of what customers' want.
This diverse business background has led to the company's adoption of the "3 Good Facets" concept. Number 1 is pleasing customers. Number 2 is pleasing producers, and Number 3 is ensuring the success of the company as a result of achieving 1 and 2. We now specialize in managing online shops dedicated to products that are delivered directly from the producers to the customers.
Farm Fresh Direct Delivery Online Shops
・Farm Fresh Oysters Direct Delivery “Umai Kakiya”（ http://www.umaikaki.com/ ）
This online shop went live in 2002, and we began a commercial relationship with oyster producers in Akkeshi, Hokkaido prefecture.
As of this year, 2012, we work with over 30 independent oyster farmers and producer groups. From the north, in Hokkaido (Saroma, Akkeshi, Senpoushi etc.), to south in Kyushu (Nagasaki Gotto-retto, etc.) we're proud to say we have all of Japan's best fresh in-shell oysters covered, as the country's largest shop of its kind.
Famous oyster harvesting regions like Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures are of course, well represented here, but we also feature oysters from smaller, lesser-known producers, and seasonal products like summer rock oysters. For this reason, we boast lots of repeat customers throughout the year.
Not only do we offer fresh in-shell oysters, we also carry products made with oysters, as well as crab, abalone, and scallops. We have individual customers and restaurants as our clients.
・Farm Fresh Strawberries Direct Delivery “Umai Ichigoya”（http://www.umaiichigo.com/）
We opened our specialty strawberry shop in February 2010.
As of this year, 2012, we carry 10 varieties of strawberries from 7 production areas.
Outside the regular strawberry season of winter to spring, we offer “Summer Strawberries” from summer to fall.
Our clients are varied. For example, we cater to individuals and restaurants, as well as western-style sweets makers.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Just as human beings cannot live alone, companies must do business in a way that benefits the region and society in general, or risk failure.
But it's not enough to just have society's stamp of approval. The regional community must “benefit in many ways, so residents can lead happy lives as members of society,” and we believe it's important to put this into practice.
The Save Sanriku Oysters Project
2011's March 11 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Sanriku region in northeastern Japan. Our oyster and strawberry producers there were directly, and seriously impacted.
On March 26th, we set up an advance payment system for “recovery” oysters, and the money collected for these "shares" was used to support affected oyster farmers in re-starting their businesses. We did not limit our assistance to producers whose products we carried, but also contributed to the recovery of other struggling oyster farmers along the Miyagi and Iwate prefectures' coastline.
This project is not simply a donation system, but a way to boost business. We are working to achieve the following:
“Provide oyster farmers with the necessary goods and services that will motivate them to re-launch their businesses.”
“Send 'shareholders' a shipment of 'recovery' oysters, and have them enjoy and appreciate them.”
Use our company's resources to make the Sanriku region an even better, higher-profile oyster production area than before the disasters.”
This project has proven a great success, as we have been able to provide 277* oyster producers with seed oysters, rope, fishing vessels, forklifts, small trucks, and funding for building preparation sheds, with the generous assistance of our “shareholders.”
*¥101,621,704 was spent to purchase supplies and equipment as of December 31, 2011.
From here on in, we will be continue to strongly support the redevelopment of the Sanriku oyster industry by assisting with distribution and sales support.
Oyster Shack Project
The March 11 disasters almost completely demolished Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture. We received an outpouring of support from around Japan and the world, and as a direct result, have been able to see oyster farmers through to production this year. They were even prepared to ship their product.
However, since many oyster processing plants were damaged by the tsunami, those buildings used for shelling oysters were no longer available. Shipping began in November 2011, but a far lower volume could be sold. In order to encourage individual communities, and the producers themselves as well as the region as a whole, we've opened an oyster shack to help them sell their product on-site.
Kakigoya Watanoha Address: 75-5 Watanoha, Iwaida, Ishinomaki, Miyagi
Kakigoya Sendaiko Address: 189 Mimitori, Gamo, Miyaginoku, Sendai, Miyagi