Made in Virginia

Advertising and Marketing Ideas from 4 successful Charlottesville-area businesses

In the summer of 2016, two iPC Summer Associates, Ben Tribble and Faith Ripa, researched advertising and marketing strategies and techniques being utilized in the Central Virginia. The results of their research are expressed on this page.

First, they present the subjects of their study in the following Advertising & Marketing Primer Film titled Made In Virginia. Then, they have selected four marketing ideas used by these businesses, four things you might not have thought about and could consider trying out. Hey, these ideas worked for these businesses, why not?


TIP #1 | Working with Nearby Businesses to Help to Promote Eachother

Cross Promotions are a cost effective way to generate more business

Cross-promotion is a form of marketing promotion where customers of one product or service are targeted with promotion of a related product. Cross-promotion may involve two or more companies working together in promoting a service or product, in a way that benefits both. Here is how one Charlottesville business utilized a cross promotion to gain new customers.

A rising tide floats all boats.
— Tom Bowe

Tom Bowe

Owner, Take It Away Sandwich Shop on the UVA Corner

  • Marketing Challenge :: Business Location
  • Marketing Response :: Cross Promoting, Social Media

Although Take It Away is located in densely populated business area of Charlottesville, The UVA corner, Tom Bowe's shop is located, in his words, "down an alley way," where foot traffic is less. The University of Virginia has an enrollment of over 20,000 students which when you add in faculty and staff is a large population of people to pull customers from, but the Corner area is also dense with restaurants and other sandwich shops. Tom Bowe felt like his challenge was his location, that many people weren't walking down the street to find his business. One of the ways he has responded to this challenge is by working with a neighboring business.

Tom Bowe recommends creating promotions with neighboring businesses. From a locations perspective, in many cases, neighboring businesses share the same challenges. He created a coupon promotion with the Duo Boutique and they offered their customers "ten percent off" if these customers presented a receipt from a nieghboring store. 

In addition, Take It Away uses social media to promote the general location and neighboring businesses. He found that sharing social media content posted by neighboring businesses drew more people down the street and increased exposure to his more-difficult-to-find storefront.

TIP #2 | Embrace your Community

Especially local nonprofit organizations

There are a multitude of ways to embrace a community and also a multitude of communities for that matter. It would be prudent for a business to determine which communities it would like to support as well as the communities which may provide support back to them in return. These latter communities may be for example industry communities.

Learn as much as you can about your industry. You have to know what you don’t know, and you have to find people to help you.
— Amy Gardner

Amy Gardner

Owner, Scarpa

  • Marketing Challenge :: Cutting through the advertising clutter
  • Marketing Response :: Giving back to a supportive community

One of the interesting ways that Scarpa has increased attention to their brand and store is by investing in its communities nonprofits through giving and through volunteer work. 

"One of the things that’s been important to me from the beginning is to really be part of the community. I feel that my success, the success of the business, is in large part because the community has supported it. So it’s a symbiotic relationship: we have to turn around and be good to the people who are good to us."

Giving back to the community which supports your business is an excellent way to draw attention to your business, and Amy Gardner has found that a lot of our marketing is working with different organizations, mainly nonprofit, and donating to their fundraisers, giving gift certificates to their fundraisers. 

"I do a lot of volunteer work and so does my staff. So it’s word of mouth in that we try to be conscientious about being good members of the community. It’s not so much of a “Look what I’m doing,” It’s just more of a “This is the right thing to do” and it tends to come back 100-fold so, so word-of-mouth gets generated that way."

TIP #3 | Understanding your Business's Location

Insight into the positives and the negatives

Having a deeper understanding of a business location will provide a lot of insight into the problems and challenges of growth as well as the benefits that actually can distinguish a business.

We highlight the beauty of the market through social media and point to our 360 degree views that highlight the Piedmont, the mountains, and the surrounding area.
— Emmie Woody

Emmie Woody

General Manager, The Market at Grelen

  • Marketing Challenge :: The Business Location
  • Marketing Response :: Promoting the benefits of the location

The Market at Grelen is a business within a business. Grelen Nursery is a high-quality supplier of plants, shrubs & trees, all grown on a 600-acre Somerset farm in Orange County, Virginia, and the Market at Grelen is a Casual Cafe (featuring local food and Virginia beer, cider & wine), Event Venue, Garden Shop, Pick-Your-Own Farm & Walking Trails, all in one stop. The challenge of this business also happens to be one of the businesses largest benefits, and that is its location.

The Market at Grelen understands that there are limitations to a business that is not located in highly populated areas. Rather than making the Market at Grelen a quick stop for people, they have developed their business in a way that makes it more of a destination.

""In today’s world, where there’s a lot of concrete and a lot of development, it’s really nice to have a place to go where you can be relieved of that, and arrive at "comfort," have all your needs met, and just enjoy the surrounding area. People don’t just pop in and out here at Grelen. When you come out to the market, people are there for an hour to three hours, maybe even longer, whether they’re hiking our trails, which are on the property, or just sitting out on the patio enjoying a nice leisurely lunch."

By taking a tough look at the pros and cons of a business location, entrepreneurs may discover that many of the facets they found to be negative can be addressed, and like at the Market at Grelen, and become benefits after all.

TIP #4 | Being Open to Opportunities

Keep your eyes open for opportunties to promote and try things

Perhaps, Winston Churchill said it best, "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." We think Churchill would have really enjoyed meeting Wendi Smith.

I don’t care if I have 100 people walking in the door one day, I’ll get 10 people walk in and say “We have never heard of you, did you just open up?”
— Wendi Smith

Wendi Smith

Owner, Leftover Luxuries

  • Marketing Challenging :: Measuring marketing Efforts
  • Marketing Response :: Keeping a measurement mindset and sticking to measurable techniques

Leftover Luxuries is a high-end interior design consignment shop located in Charlottesville, Virginia. It's owner, Wendi Smith, has tried just about every marketing medium known to man, including radio, print, and social media. But what Leftover Luxuries is really great at is recognizing opportunities to promote its store.

When Leftover Luxuries stumbled into a chance encounter with a representative from the SPCA, they saw an excellent opportunties to work together and Wendi Smith cites this collaboration as one of her more successful attempts to promote her brand and her store.

i teamed up with the SPCA and what that did is two fold. First, it was great for them because it earned them money because i gave percentage of the sales from the popup to them. Second, it was great for Leftover Luxuries because in exchange they were helping in marketing my event for them.Not only did it go to my email base, but it also went to the SPCA’s email base. 

Leftover Luxuries realized that Charlottesville is a city filled with animal lovers so the SPCA event was a great opportunty. And the great part, is that she was easily able to measure its success.


Additional Information

If you are interested in finding more ways to help get the word out about your business, please sign up to get access to our growing library of advertising and marketing articles, or feel free to email or call, to discuss how iPC can help your business to create content for the world to see and share. Lastly, make sure to download the infographic we make to accompany MADE IN VIRGINIA.