In its March 2013 issue, Fast Company magazine published its annual list of the 50 most innovative companies in the world. Nike came in at No. 1, followed by Amazon and Jack Dorsey’s Square. And newcomers like Uber and Pinterest helped round out the top 10.
But what about the most non-innovative companies? Don’t they deserve some recognition here too? We at The Coolaid sure think so, which is why we set out to find the top non-innovative companies in Los Angeles. The company that courageously sticks to its ways despite countless developments in marketing and technology that could no doubt boost profits and further extend the life of the company – that’s what we went looking for.
After extensive field research and meticulous data crunching, we bring you the four most non-innovative companies in LA.
EUGENE’S HOT DOG STAND (Sunset & La Brea): God love him, Eugene has been peddling hot dogs from his portable mini-kitchen for as long as we can remember. He’s a great guy and wouldn’t know innovation if it stole his wife and took her up to Burbank for a night on the town. He’s refused to use Facebook ever since some sort of “picture incident,” and when we mentioned Yelp! he got very angry – so angry that we cut the interview short and jogged back to our vehicle.
Eugene hasn’t shaken up the hot dog industry one bit. It’s always the same thing: a reasonably fresh dogger cradled in a sun-toasted bun, topped with splurts of condiments. A recipe for success.
Keep it up, Eugene!
SUNSET STRIP VIDEO RENTAL (Silver Lake): These guys are marketing geniuses! The store is at least six miles away from the Sunset Strip but the inside is so enchanting that you don’t even notice. Feeding off the retro, I-don’t-want-to-grow-up vibe of Silver Lake and Echo Park, these guys are totally trapped in the mid-90′s, when VHS was king and MTV’s The Real Word had just about peaked.
All post-90′s trends are bucked at Sunset Strip Video Rentals. They use a spiral notebook to keep track of rentals, and you’re liable to get banned from the store if you’re ever caught carrying a DVD. It’s awesome! May you live long and prosper, Sunset Strip Video Rental.
*UPDATE: Sunset Strip Video Rental is no longer in business.
ANDERSON FAMILY LAWN SERVICES (Hollywood): This is a family owned and operated lawn care company serving the greater Hollywood area. The Andersons sure know how to pull a weed, and they’ll make your lawn look like freakin’ mirrors! Instead of building a website or engaging in any sort of marketing whatsoever, these guys go door to door insisting your lawn needs a fresh mow. These tried and true methods have earned them anywhere from six to thirteen loyal customers.
The same goes for the tools they use. There have been huge developments in hand shovels over the years, in everything from handle color to blade bendiness. But the Anderson clan, much to their credit, will have none of this “post-modern bulls–t,” as they call it. And when I suggested they build some sort of noise-canceling apparatus for those big garden sheers they use, they laughed in my face. You’ve got to respect that kind of confidence.
HOAR’S DONUTS (Franklin & Vine): Of the 50-100 eponymously named donut shops in LA, Hoar’s stands alone in its strict donut orthodoxy and poor lighting. While so many donut shops have succumbed to the unfortunate shift in social mores regarding donut shapes, Hoar sticks to his charming frosted circles, inspired maple bars, and hand-twisted twists.
We’ve seen all kinds of new-fangled donutry, and we’re not just talking about donuts in the shapes of nether organs. I once dared to eat a donut in the shape of a Pterodactyl. It was horrific and very confusing psychologically. That’s why I always go back to Hoar’s, where I know I can get principled, non-threatening donuts.
Here are some of the LA-area companies we found to be wonderfully stagnant and non-innovative too, but not wonderfully enough to make it into the top four: Haggis International, Tuesdays-Only Parking Lots, Eddie’s Dog Walking, and Venice (the entire town).