A quick glimpse of how I got here: My fascination for computers started at a young age. My parents got me a Dell computer in the 7th grade. I immediately started taking it apart and learning how it worked and how I could make it run faster. I was hooked! In high school I took my first programming class. After high school I went to Purdue University and got a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Technology. Right out of college I applied to and got my dream job at Lockheed Martin in 2002. While at Lockheed Martin, I went on to get my Master’s Degree in System Engineering. After 12 years, I realized I didn’t love the corporate life and I was ready to do something else. So, time to move on.
My next venture was SMoKE Cigar Lounge (www.smokemanayunk.com). I pitched the idea to a few friends and they believed in and fully supported me in this dream. With their investment, and a generous amount of manual labor from my best friend Joe, we built the lounge from the ground up. However, something was missing. It was the week before opening and he asked where our POS was. The one thing I had done my entire life, I completely overlooked! So I spent some time researching and calling other retailers, getting their opinions on the best POS systems. I couldn’t find anyone that loved the system they were using.
Knowing the amount of work involved in writing my own system, I had zero intentions of writing my own system. I decided to write something very basic just to get us by for the short term. My goal was that it would hold us over until the following year where I could shop POS systems at the IPCPR trade show. I went to all the POS booths looking for the best system for the best price. I could not find one. I knew at this point it was time to develop my current system into some more user friendly and sustainable. Something that could grow with my lounge. I needed to make something that would meet all of my needs as a store owner.
A few years later I was contacted by a fellow store owner who had heard about my program. He was curious about obtaining it for his store. After a few conversations and after disclosing how this product made my life so much easier I decided to give it to him for free, as a trial. Something to help me understand that needs of other stores to help me fully develop and fine tune the program.
Here we are today! This program has changed my life fundamentally. In the beginning it was called HellasBAE which was just my development name for the project. Today, it is now called TORO. We are the FIRST AND ONLY POS written specifically for the tobacco industry. What does that mean? It means all the quirks, and odd situations that we encounter at the store level are handled for you.
Is there a better POS system out there? Probably. Are they better suited for a tobacco-centered business? Absolutely not! No software company would ever write a custom POS System specifically for the tobacco industry. The demand simply doesn’t exist.
That’s where I come in. This is a POS system that was written by a cigar retailer for other retailers. I wanted to stop wasting my time dealing with all the extra tasks of running a store and nuances of our industry. I can’t promise to address every single need you may have in your store, but I will be pleasantly surprised when you do bring me something new. That’s not to sound cocky, but I do stand behind my product and I work directly with all of my customers to meet and exceed their needs. TORO has come a long way since the first version! If you come up with an idea that we don’t have in there, I will incorporate that into future versions.
I look forward to doing more of these blogs as we cover different aspects of TORO to show you how and why we are different.
Thank you, Kosta