Andrew Pudalov

Social-Media Mavens

Andrew Pudalov, B.S.’88

Andrew Pudalov

Social-Media Rush

By Stephen Shoemaker, B.A.’02

When Andrew Pudalov founded Rush Bowls in The Hill district of Boulder in 2004, he was able to rely on the oldest form of social media: word of mouth. His eatery, which serves thickly blended fruit bowls with a customer’s choice of toppings, turned out to be a hit among the University of Colorado crowd.

“It’s a great way to start. Either the students accept you and become loyal customers, or they don’t. We’re a premium-priced product, so their acceptance is important,” said Pudalov, who majored in business administration at UAlbany.

Eleven years later, the landscape of social media only amplifies that word of mouth. It also allows Rush Bowls to participate in the conversation directly. Social media “is about engaging  [customers], asking them questions, trying to get information from them on what they like and what they want to see,” Pudalov said. One example: Customers very much appreciate it when Rush Bowls teams up with a student group to donate a portion of sales to charity.

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Good will and customer rapport are important to Pudalov, especially since the Rush Bowls brand has expanded into wholesale distribution – and beginning this year, franchises – throughout the Rocky Mountains region. But the continual shifts in social media require constant attention and input, from his managers down to his younger employees.

Pudalov picks the brains of his teenaged kids, too. “Things have changed,” he observed. “Today, 14- and 16-year-olds, rather than 50- and 60-year-olds, are dictating where they see social media going.”

Next: Norman E. Snyder, Jr., B.S.’83