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November Issue News Feature: Seasonal Promotions - Refine and Shine

11-9-2016, Mobile Electronics -- The spring and back-to-school seasons present car audio retailers with prime times for promotions, but savvy business owners know that generating business is easiest when you have ways to attract customers any time of the year.

Sound-offs, Show & Shine events, Glow-Offs, and Cruise-Ins are just some of the many ways that retailers can build a place in the community and keep folks engaged in the 12-volt world.

Some retailers are also finding that working with a charitable organization to donate a portion of proceeds can add another level to an event and build a place for their company in the local or regional area.

Earlier this year, GNC Customs of Goshen, Ind., hosted their 12th annual Mid-Summer Mayhem. The family event, held every August on a Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., included a bounce house, games for children, and a hot dog eating contest. It featured an SPL competition and 2x points IASCA SQ event. There were over 100 competitors, over 100 door prizes, and 50 trophies. More than 350 people came out for the annual show.

It was also the first year that the retailer chose to donate proceeds to a charity, The Center for Healing & Hope, which provides affordable healthcare to the uninsured.

But it started out much smaller. “How it came to be is really funny,” said Josh Mojica, general manager of GNC Customs, who owns the store with his two brothers, Jeremiah and Jared. “Back in 2002, when we established the business, the tuner scene was growing after the whole Fast & Furious movement. My brothers and I were drawn to that and we started a cruise night in the parking lot every Thursday night.”

The cruise nights started after hours. “We closed at 6 p.m. and started the cruise-in at 7 so that at a certain point, the cars could turn on their lights,” said Mojica.

After successfully hosting those events for a year, it was time to take things to the next level. “We wanted to do something a bit more special,” Mojica said. “We wanted to add in a cookout and make it an appreciation-type event even, although we had been in business for some time already."

The plan was for a modest event with 20 to 30 cars. “But one of our regular attendees at the cruise-ins thought we were having a full-blown car show,” said Mojica. “So word started to spread. Soon a local radio station began mentioning it. At the same time there was a local Spanish radio station that was growing, and this guy got them to mention it, too—that we were doing this car show. Well, at that point, we figured we needed to do something more than a cookout—we actually needed to a do a car show. We put together some gift certificates, did some judging, and gave out awards. That turned into what has now become Mid-Summer Mayhem.” 

By the third year, GNC added trophies. The event was growing, but so were the expenses with everything being funded by the store. “We were giving out trophies, we were still doing food, and still drawing about 30 to 40 cars,” said Mojica. “But the show was getting bigger. We began looking to other businesses to help support the trophies and for door prizes. With a larger event, we needed to offset some of the costs to us.”  

Motivated For More

Fast forward to what the event has evolved into today and Mojica credits Knowledgefest for the motivation. “Going to Knowledgefest for the first time changed our business,” he said. “It opened our eyes to what other people were doing. We started implementing more and making our vendor relationships stronger. We started leaning on our vendors and manufacturers to give us some things to give away.”

A challenge for next year is where to hold the event. This year it was held in the parking lot right in front of the store, but since it is a shared space with some new potential businesses moving into the complex, it could mean limited room. “We actually outgrew the space this year and had to shut down registration,” said Mojica. “There were 20 to 30 cars outside of the car show itself trying to get in but we couldn’t fit anymore.”

No matter the location, one thing that remains in effect since even the earliest days of the event—the store will not be open for business the day of the show. “We are not here to sell anything so it wouldn’t hurt us if we took it off site,” said Mojica. “It won’t affect business.” Still, a big benefit to having the show in the parking lot is being able to take folks in and at least show them the operation. “For someone who isn’t familiar with us, we’re able to take them in and give them a tour,” said Mojica.

So how do you get an event like this going? According to Mojica, the first step is simply looking at the calendar and setting a date. For the last few years, GNC has chosen the first weekend in August. The timing has been beneficial in a number of ways.

“We participate in another big local show—it is the largest show in the area—and we have a booth there,” said Mojica. “We figure it’s a great place to start promoting our event. We make up a flyer. On it we put the details about the car show—the hot dog eating contest, that we’ll be giving stuff away, and that there will be a jumper for kids.”  

Read the rest of the story HERE. 

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