SPRINGHILL – Some franchises are recognizable a mile away.
Trademarks like red pigtails or golden arches give an undeniable impression of what business is up ahead in the distance. But when the budding Nova Scotia franchise the Split Crow found a new roost at the Lamp Cabin in Springhill, it found an opportunity to blur the lines between “up-and-coming” and “tried-tested-and true.”
This marks the first real rural buy-in for the Split Crow. Unlike its other holdings, which are in larger communities with strong populations or in close proximity to travel destinations, the Split Crow at the Lamp Cabin is the first true rural franchise, proprietor Derek Forsyth says, and it presents some unique opportunities.
“We’re trying to create a brand right now. It started in Halifax and has three components. The menu is step one; beer selections are step two and the third step is entertainment.”
There’s a visual element to the brand, too, but here in Springhill it means marrying the familiar look of the 30-year-old business with the brand’s style. The result, Forsyth says, means customers will find familiarity both at home and on the road when visiting the other Split Crow’s across the province.
“We want a small, cool place to hangout, get a good meal and have lots of beer on tap,” he said.
Marrying the old with the new means working with the community and staff, who Forsyth says are the face of the Split Crow at the Lamp Cabin. While the Split Crow offers its own menu selection, many of the items on the old Lamp Cabin menu are still available as specials or, sometimes if you know what you’re looking for, by request, making locals part of a special inner circle.
“We still have ‘the mess,’ and we’re the only one that offers the 15-inch pizza,” Forsyth said.
With the brand also comes buying power. The Split Crow can make bulk buys a single business can’t do on its own, Forsyth said, and the savings are handed down to the customers. And when it comes to entertainment, the charity fundraisers will continue, local talent will always have a stage and there’s opportunity for bigger acts to breeze through the community using Split Crow locations as a circuit instead of one-stops.
If there’s one message Forsyth wants the community to take away, it’s that the Split Crow has not replaced the Lamp Cabin; the Split Crow is at the Lamp Cabin.
“People are asking if we’re changing this or getting rid of that. Nothing is changing,” Forsyth said. “We hope to make the place busier, add more to it and invest.”