Everyone Has Their Own Fish to Fry
NCAA’s Basketball Tournament, March Madness, is just that—maddening. Every year, die hard hoops fans flock to their TVs, tablets, laptops, and PCs to watch the games that truly matter. If you have a team in the dance, obviously you are pulling for them. If you don’t have a favorite team, chances are that you are an adrenaline junky who loves the excitement generated by college sports and this tournament, where a #16 seeded team, University of Maryland Baltimore County, can and did beat up on a #1 seed, Virginia, a first for this tournament!
I watched intently as my Sooners fell to Rhode Island in their one and done appearance. I watched, not because OU had much of a chance to advance in the brackets, but because of their freshman phenom, Trey Young, a young wizard with an incredible 3-point shot and an uncanny knack for making amazing no-look passes. Rarely has there been a talent like Young in the NCAA, especially as a freshman! Trey is why I watched OU this year. Now that Trey is one and done with college basketball and has become an NBA lottery pick, I may even start watching the NBA just to see how he progresses.
During Lenten season here in the St. Louis area, Fish Fry Fridays are all the rage. There are literally hundreds of fish frys to choose from; they can be found at churches, VFW halls, schools, a local firehouse, and even at area restaurants. A group of friends and I have formed the Fish Fry Friday Caravan (FFFC), and about 10-20 of us meet up at a different fish fry weekly for the great food and the fellowship. I’d like to say it is all for Lent, but for the majority in our group, it’s about the food and friends. Fried cod fillets, baked salmon, frog legs, catfish bites, hush puppies…it’s the food that draws us from far and near to meet on six Fridays during Lent.
When worlds collide, which they do every year as the NCAA’s Big Dance and part of the Lenten season occur at the same time, our group anguishes over what to do. Some stay home or at their local watering hole to watch the games, others come eat with us and see the games when they get home; still others pull out their big cell phones and watch the live stream of the games while eating their fish dinners. Bars, restaurants, churches, and VFW halls have all made themselves a “destination” for reasons that are not a-typical, but they do reap the rewards.
What can you do at your store to become that talked-about destination that would make people excited to stop at your store? I’m not suggesting having a fish fry, although, hey, why not? Maybe you could sponsor a seminar where a specialty painter could show what products he uses and how he uses them to do what he does, like painting murals, staining furniture, or how to make new products look old or weathered? Maybe hold a gathering for area interior designers and walk them through your various color-matching techniques or school them on the latest trending colors?
Whatever unique event you can throw together that might get folks talking about your store, there isn’t much downside to it. The point is to do something different at your store, to make your store a “destination” as well as differentiating your store from the big boxes.
That way you can score your own “upset” victory…over those boxes.