Recently I traveled to Genoa, Ohio to do some training for a store named Genoa Custom Interiors, owned by Cheryl and David Grosjean. Here I am, motoring into town in my rented PT Cruiser, looking for some cookies or a pastry to bring to my new friends. Imagine my delight when I see a hot pink sign that says "CAFÉ - homemade desserts!"
Well, I'll just waltz right in and get the best stuff, knowing that my new friends will love the pastry. Hmmmmmmm, as I approach the door I notice a sign in the window advertising "fresh fried perch." I look up again to see if I’m at the right place, and sure enough the pink sign is still there. I hesitantly open the door and sure enough, it’s really a perch place, albeit with a pastry sign. Assuming it’s still a mistake, I approach an uninviting counter and ask for the homemade pastries that I’m sure they have. Not today, the lady says, but perch is on the menu!
I've learned a new lesson today: you can’t tell a sign by its sign.
I imagine the customer who goes there for perch is quite happy, so why not make a big PERCH sign and let us pastry people not waste time on perch and find what we want elsewhere? As I look down the street I’m intrigued by another sign: "A Most Unusual Garden Shop." I look in the windows and I see tables as well as a sign that says “Open for Lunch." I would never have been able to tell it was an eatery based on its marquee and exterior!
It reminds me of the carpet store that sells wood assuming everyone must know that a carpet store carries wood, right?
Your sign is part of your brand and should clearly display what you do.
In Buffalo, NY there are adjoining signs for Destination Motherhood and Casual Male. Who would have thought to put these two stores side-by-side!?
The Chicks from Genoa
So, on with the story.
I get to a sign that says "Interiors," hoping that it’s not another cover for a perch store. I open the door and am promptly greeted by a plethora of well-dressed, smiling women. Before I have a chance to sit down, I’m ushered to their “Custom” shop across the street and am being shown jewelry. Now, I know if I told you to carry jewelry in your flooring store, you'd think, "there's crazy Lis again." Before I can ask why the jewelry, I’m told they simply carry it because they like it and know that most women do! The cabinet is unlocked and I realize the sales trainer — me — is being sold, and liking it! This is my introduction to the women who now comprise the group I affectionately call, the Chicks from Genoa. These are the ones I’m supposed to be training. The Chicks' real names are Cheryl, Sue, Janis, Jan and Rhennon. What wonderful women, and you can tell that Dave, the store owner, likes having them around. They are all very talented, can talk with anyone and just look great. Who would have thought they would be in a little town in Ohio?
As far as training goes, I find these ladies to be smarter than your average salesperson. We promised to be friends forever. I bought some Mary Kay from Rhennon and the girls gave me a lovely gift.
I shouldn’t forget Chris Clark — our other Mohawk rep who seemed to enjoy everything that was going on and didn’t make fun of us. That’s what makes him such a good rep. I also heard he does a great Elvis impersonation.
More Genoa Highlights
It's now off to the Genoa Cruisin’ Car Show, featuring 120 antique and custom cars. This time I drag along Pat Toohey, the Mohawk rep., and have her pose in front of a red 1965 Mustang. This show has free hamburgers and an Elvis impersonator. A good time for any town. Lots of stuff for men but not really enough for women. I probably would have had a massage, haircut, facial, a fashion show and cooking lessons…
Another elegant place of interest is Jan Pugh's store, Packer Creek Pottery. They have great hand-made items and testimonials from all over the world. I was impressed. The testimonials were from royalty as well as commoners like me. The testimonials were placed at eye-level around the store so you could read them. A great idea.
All in all, it has been a great trip. Look around you and notice advertising that works and advertising that doesn't. What are they doing different? Feel free to add your ideas.