Pump 'N Pak Packs Them In

Event highlights value of customer appreciation days to community, store

BROOKINGS, S.D. -- Despite having a stronger September than last year, the 20-year-old Schoon's Pump 'N Pak store at Maine Avenue in Brookings, S.D., had seen better days, especially compared to its five-year-old sister store 10 blocks away--where promotions are usually held. But Pump 'N Pak held its first-ever vendor-assisted customer appreciation day at the first store late last month.

"We did it at this older store, because if we don't treat them the same, they aren't going to grow the same," Dan Bauer, general manager, told CSP Daily News.

The parking lot of the store was filled to capacity at points throughout the three-hour event, held September 23. And now the numbers are in, and Bauer considers the event a success--with 700 prime sirloin sandwiches and 1,000 milk coupons given away throughout the day.

"This event, we will do again," he said.

The event was promoted with radio advertising (200 30-second ads) a lit-up scoreboard, banners and a two-hour live radio remote that plugged all the vendors, paid for by Pump 'N Pak and Clark Brands (the store is supplied by Harms Oil Co., a Clark licensee).

And in addition to showing the store's appreciation to its customers, it showcased the store's mix of products with the discounts, freebies and prizes being provided by about a dozen of Pump 'N Pak's snack, beer, soft drink, dairy and meat vendors.

"A lot of people don't think you're going to have a very good take, because you're giving everything away, but we had our highest sales day of the month that day and the highest gallons of gasoline," Bauer said.

In addition to showcasing local meat and cheese samples, soft drink vendors offered 12 packs (normally $4.99) for $2.99. Cigarettes could be purchase for $1 a pack. And even though a milk coupon for $1 off that was given away didn't have to be used that day, "they still came inside and patronized us," Bauer said.

Shamrock Vapes electronic cigarettes were also on hand, allowing adult smokers to try up to three flavors for free, and "sold a bunch," according to Bauer. A nearby car wash also donated 20 free car washes with a full tank of gasoline, and customers could also play Frisbee golf, thanks to the good weather.

Bauer also said the day of the week turned out to be a good choice. "We like Fridays. People are in a good mood, and a lot of times they can sneak out a little easier on a Friday; most of their true work is done for the week."

He said while the event was a chance to "give back a little to the community," he anticipates the store will feel the good will continue. "Months going down the road, I think it pays us back. Anybody that gets a free meal or free anything, they just remember it."

He adds, "We want to do it every year. The vendors all want to do it again; they were all behind us."

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