George Press Jewelers & the Power of Promotional Events

George and Cheryl Press, co-owners of George Press Jewelers in Livingston, N.J., like exotic cars. Not to drive, but to use in their promotional events.

The couple has run two Father’s Day customer events with an opportunity to drive a Ferrari as part of the winning prize. While coordinating the logistics of last year’s event, the couple approached a local exotic car dealer to give one lucky contestant a weekend to drive a Ferrari. This year, a loyal George Press Jewelers customer who owns four Ferraris drove the winner around in his Ferrari Enzo. 

For the past two years, each Father’s Day Ferrari contest has had its own unique behind the scenes story. In the closing days of last year’s contest, a fireman came in for a basic jewelry repair job. George normally doesn’t charge these everyday heroes for such low-cost repairs.

But this time he told the fireman that if he paid for the small repair, it would give him a chance to win the weekend-with-a-Ferrari contest. He obliged. Weeks later, the store owners and the fireman were stunned to discover the last-minute entry had won. 

This year’s contest had two interesting stories behind it. Richard Stein has been a loyal customer of George and Cheryl’s for nearly 20 years. At first glance, Stein is a guy that has it all. He’s an incredibly successful tax attorney with a big, beautiful house and a collection of four Ferraris.

About two years ago, Stein got the terrible news that he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Characterized as a man with a “fighting spirit,” according to George, Stein continues to juggle his career and doctor visits with his charity work, which involves taking winners of company contests for a ride in an exotic car. Proceeds from these events benefit one of Stein’s main charities, the 2011 Parkinson’s Unity Walk.

This year, a client named Howard Whitman made a significant purchase of some Charriol jewelry, which earned him a chance to win a ride in the Ferrari. When the winner’s notification call came, Whitman and his entire family were away on vacation. They played the voicemail several days later when the entire family returned home. At that time Whitman decided to re-gift the winning ride to his grandson.

One thing that was a little different this year was that the store had access to multiple Ferraris. In an open field adjacent to the jewelry store, George and Cheryl asked Stein if they could display his four exotic cars as part of an all-day celebration the weekend before the June 18 drawing (the six-week contest started on May 1). 

“The reaction was incredible,” says George. “People stopped and walked in the lot to look at the cars, and many of them came streaming into the store. It was one of our busiest days in recent memory.”

On that same day George and Cheryl worked with Photomedia to take pictures of people posing with the exotic cars. The local professional photo studio charged $5 per framed portrait.

“Around 50 or so people had their pictures taken,” says George. “But many people gave more than the $5 to help benefit Parkinson’s Unity Walk. With ticket sales and contest proceeds, we raised about $635 for the 2011 Parkinson’s Unity Walk. Of all the businesses Richard has worked with, this one of the largest amounts taken in.”

The exotic cars generate a huge buzz in the Livingston market for George and Cheryl, giving the couple ample incentive to continue to use exotic cars in their promotions. “It was an interesting approach that’s really turned into a winner for us,” says George. “People really seem to respond to the Ferraris.”

Winner Howard Whitman re-gifted his ride in a Ferrari to his grandson.