An early August parade marked the end of a unique store event for Linda Hagan and her staff at Jewelry Creations. In her 28-year history as a jewelry store owner, Hagan has organized numerous store events. But “A Celebration of Pets and Their People” was not only her first month-long store event it was Hagan’s initial benefit for the Cocheco Valley Humane Society (CVHS).
As the owner of a cocker spaniel named Rangeley, Hagan has helped with Cocker Spaniel Rescue, a rescue network for the breed. But as a pet lover, she wanted to do her part in raising awareness for her local Humane Society.
“We’ve never done a month-long event like this, so we had no idea what to expect,” says Hagan. “We were all very surprised at the interest and turnout for the events scheduled throughout July.”
Hagan and her staff did their best to promote the event on a budget. The local Humane Society provided Hagan with a wish-list of pet and office supplies needed to offset operational expenses. Handouts with the supplies list and scheduled events were given out in the store with an in-store bulletin board used as a master planner.
Being an active member in her community, namely through Dover, New Hampshire’s Chamber of Commerce, Hagan had some open mike time on local radio stations to promote the Humane Society event. She even used up some her promotional budget with paid ads over the airwaves for the four to five local stations. Staff members also chatted up the event in the store whenever the opportunity presented itself.
To keep interest going during the month-long event, Hagan held smaller events throughout July. Perhaps the most successful was the in-store donations drive. Hagan and her staff took in two carloads of supplies for the local Humane Society, ranging from household cleaning products and toilet paper to dog food and pet toys.
Those who donated supplies were asked to complete a customer profile card for a chance to win a hand-painted, custom-made charm of the winner’s cat or dog from a Jewelry Creations vendor that provides this unique service.
People also submitted pet portraits as part of a photo contest event. The winner received a Kabana sterling silver charm bracelet, which featured links of dogs captured in various canine-inspired positions.
A pet show was also organized and the month-long event concluded on August 1 with a pet parade. The 60 to 90 minute parade worked its way through town starting at the Cocheco Mills Courtyard and ending at the Rotary Pavilion at Henry Law Park.
Dogs and cats made up the lion’s share of the 50 pets on parade and the 100 or so people that joined in. Some exotics (animals) were also in the mix for this special event, including a monitor lizard.
Hagan was pleased with her first event to benefit the local Humane Society with a second annual “A Celebration of Pets and Their People” planned for 2010, but with a few changes. “I’d like to schedule the event earlier and give the event planning more consideration to tweak things a bit,” says Hagan.
Given the down economy, it was difficult to peg sales directly to the event. But, Hagan and her staff were able to update and bring in new customer cards, promoted unique pet-related products from valued vendors and got a lot of face time with local business leaders and folks in her market, inside and outside her store.
Additional promotional perks included lots of air time on local radio stations as well as a plug on the Cocheco Valley Humane Society’s homepage that links to Jewelry Creation’s website. Not bad for a first time out.