N.C. Jeweler Pays Out for Six Inches of Snowfall

It doesn’t snow much in Wilmington, N.C., but that didn’t stop the owner of
Perry’s Emporium from taking out an insurance policy for a snowfall promotion.
The idea came to owner Alan Perry on a trip to Chicago in October. During an
annual meeting with 12 other jewelers, one told Perry about a snowfall
promotion—if it snowed six inches at O’Hare airport on Christmas all the
purchases during a specified time would be free. “I thought it was a good idea
but I thought, ‘Damn, it never snows here,’ ” Perry tells JCK.
Perry called his insurance company to see how much he could insure. An
insurance policy was set up for three inches of snowfall on
Christmas Day in Asheville, N.C.—a city nearly 500 miles away from the store—and Perry launched his holiday promo.
“I used a teddy bear in the store with a sign that said, ‘My polar bear tells
me it’s going to snow in Asheville on Christmas. If it does all jewelry
purchases made from Nov. 26–Dec. 11 are free,’ ” Perry says.  
During 19 years of business, Perry says this year was the first time he tried a
snowfall promotion to boost sales. “Sales increased 34 percent,” he says. “It was a
magnet draw for us, especially the closer it got to Christmas.”
More than six inches of snow fell in Asheville on Christmas Day, which has
Perry paying out an estimated $400,000 to customers. “It takes about 45 days to cut the checks. We
should get a check around Feb. 5,” Perry says. “I’m really hoping some of that
money will come back to the store for Valentine’s Day.”
Perry says he is elated with the success of the snowfall promotion. His sales
are up 38 percent from last December and he says he will continue the promotion
annually. In fact, he is looking to increase his February sales with a similar
promotion. “We’re going to try a Second Chance. If it snows on Valentine’s Day,
purchases will be free.”