Editor’s Letter – Feb/Mar 2017

February/March, 2017—

Want to find new customers? Meet them where they are in their lives.

If you’ve never been to HFA member Fitterer’s Furniture in Ellensburg, Wash., you owe yourself a visit. At the very least, pick up the phone and give Brad Fitterer a call. Everyone talks about how our industry is built on relationships and hospitality and welcoming guests into our stores the way we invite old friends into our homes. Few do this better than Brad, who has incorporated this philosophy into his business model.

Once a month, Fitterer’s takes part in the city’s Girls Night Out, inviting artists and other home-based businesses to set up shop on the store’s third floor to do business. They also open their doors during the city’s Jazz in the Valley and Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering events.

“I totally believe in community involvement,” Fitterer says. “Some people say I’m passionate about it, and that’s probably true. When you have a small business in a small town—or even in a big town—you really have to give back to the people who have given to you. I really believe that’s what makes a person whole.”

What struck me is how each of these events meets potentially new customers—the local artist, the jazz aficionado, the cowboy poet—on their own terms in a setting they feel comfortable. And it doesn’t always require a Herculean effort on your part. Heck, if you are set up for e-commerce, you’re already doing it by meeting shoppers who are comfortable online. Want to add to that number? Translate your website and in-store signage into Spanish.

There are all kinds of ways to open your doors to more customers. Getting word out that you support the rights of all people might endear you to the LGBT community. Opening your store to the local high school’s drama club for a silent auction fund-raiser will pack your store like you’ve never seen before. Advertising at your child’s or grandchild’s athletic field opens you up to literally hundreds of soccer moms and baseball dads. Hosting a wine tasting can easily attract, well, my entire neighborhood for starters.

You get the point. Meet people where they are in their lives, and when they need furniture, they’ll think of you.

Congratulations Brad! Click to read about Fitterer’s Furniture.