Astro co-founders, Elliot Spaisman and Jeff Halpern, formerly of the Washington Capitals, grew up playing hockey together in Montgomery County, Md. Doughnuts from local shop Montgomery Doughnuts, were the reward of choice after games. Growing up, they dreamed of opening up a doughnut shop of their own, but diverged as Elliot pursued a career in antiques, and Jeff went on to play in the NHL. Years later, their childhood dream came to fruition when they decided to open up Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken.
Goal and tactics
Savor was hired six months prior to opening to build buzz and awareness of Astro and the personalities associated with it – pastry chef Jason Gehring, and co-founders Elliot and Jeff – with the challenge of not having a fully operational space for several months, and with competing concepts scheduled to open at the same time. Through a combination of media relations, strategic partnerships and pop-up events, community and influencer outreach, and social media efforts, Astro opened to lines that wrapped around the block and a frenzy of both local and national media interest.
- Astro’s now famous crème brûlée doughnut was featured as the best doughnut in DC by the Washington Post.
- Mentions in national publications including the New York Times Magazine, Today.com, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, 7x7 Magazine, FoxNews.com, Forbes.com, SouthernLiving.com, Serious Eats, Politico, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, among others.
- Features and spots in the Washington Post, Washingtonian, Washington City Paper (one of 50 dishes you must try), Zagat, UrbanDaddy, DailyCandy, Foodie & The Beast, ABC 7, Fox 5, WTOP, Refinery29, Thrillist, the Washington Business Journal, and more.
- Increased pre-opening catering sales from stories in City Eats, DailyCandy, Eater, Washington Post, and Washingtonian and from targeted sample drops to neighboring businesses.
- Lines of upwards of 1,000 people per day.
- Four-fold increase in unique web page views following UrbanDaddy and Thrillist opening stories
- 20% increased in overall sales and a three-fold increase of crème brûlée doughnut sales after Washington Post feature.
- Partnerships with national brands including Shake Shack and H. Bloom.