|It’s all become too much to bear: another hardware store birthday – another boot-scootin’, toe-tappin’, dust-swirlin’ regiment of line dancers…
And to top it all off, there is the ubiquitous…it hurts to write it…Sausage Sizzle! There are two torturous sounds in the world that have the power to shatter teeth. One is the squeal of fingernails against blackboard; the other is the phrase “Sausage Sizzle”.
Surely we can do better than force-feed sausages to boot-scootin’ shufflers every time we wish to celebrate a birthday or other special event!
For instance, at Tupelo Hardware Store, Mississippi, the major event of the year is the Elvis Festival. The hardware store arranges recliner chair races down the hill, with each chair painted in the theme of one of Elvis’ 33 movies. Then, of course, there is the Elvis lookalike dog contest.
Are there any uniquely Australian activities that might enliven the celebrations of our Australian hardware stores? What about a Spit the Dummy contest? Each dummy spit could raise $1 for charity, the prize being a bat and ball to take home. Screw the Tail to the Donkey. Build an Igloo out of Eskys. “Who Can Slam the Door the Loudest?” Competition (for the kids). Pick Up Drill Bits. “How Many Bails of Hay Can You Stack on One Ute?” Competition. Most Lifelike Kookaburra Call. Strongman Competition (doing laps carrying a Victa Mower).
Hardware outlets are “community stores”, so festivities need not be restricted to product discounts and 2-for-1 specials: stretch your wings!
The serious point here is that individual stores, regardless of their group affiliations or locations, can achieve more with their special events by exercising a little imagination. Humorous activities and high-quality entertainment stick in the mind, and also serve to add personality to the image of a business. An annual fun day will probably have a greater impression on customer loyalty than periodic price-filled fliers in the letterbox.
Look up “Corporate Entertainment” in a search of Australian websites and myriad company listings spring forth. Offerings include live music bands of all styles, fire eaters, stilt walkers, balloon suppliers, etc, and the prices are generally reasonable. And don’t be shy about asking your major suppliers to lend a hand. Companies like Wagner Spraytech Australia and Gorilla Ladders maintain trailer displays for major events, complete with the odd give-away to keep the hordes enthralled.
So don’t be afraid to experiment with your next birthday or festival celebrations (no sausages, please!)
By John Power