Dover Saddlery is a premier online retailer for equestrian products. In the last decade, the company began opening retail stores in the East Coast. For its first California store based in Laguna Hills, the Boston-based company enlisted Ronstadt & Associates PR to help.
In the past, Dover Saddlery opened stores with a V.I.P. party for its local high volume Internet customers. The parties were typically a success with large crowds coming to drink, eat, shop and socialize. However, Dover wanted to increase foot traffic at the Grand Opening to the public, taking place the next morning.
- Increase traffic at the public opening
- Increase sales
To meet these goals, Ronstadt suggested offering a free gift to the first 50 guests in line at the ribbon cutting, inviting famous equestrians to attend, donating to a local charity, and providing statistics showing the size of the horse economy in Southern California (a little known fact).
Ronstadt & Associates identified the Shea Therapeutic Riding Center in San Clemente as a great charity partner. We conducted research with the United States Equestrian Federation to identify statistics about the local horse economy. We also invited and secured the mayor of Laguna Hills to help cut the ribbon.
For the ultimate V.I.P. guest, Dover invited equestrian Olympian/silver medalist Gina Miles to attend the ribbon cutting for a great photo opp. Dover also agreed to give a free hoof pick to the first 50 people in line. With all these elements in place, we had story angles for business/retail reporters, features editors, horse magazines and even mom blogs.
We immediately wrote and distributed a calendar listing. Once our VIP guests were confirmed, we expanded the initial calendar listing into a media alert. Then we hit the phones to line up media attendees. With no TV stations nearby, we focused on print and online media only.
Dover Saddlery evaluated the success of the program on: 1) the number of guests attending the ribbon cutting and public Grand Opening; and 2) high sales throughout the weekend.
Ronstadt & Associates media relations efforts resulted in:
- More than 20 stories and calendar listings with estimated impressions totaling more than 12 million
- Key print coverage included two stories in the local newspaper the Orange County Register
- A follow up feature story and beautiful photographs ran in Coast Magazine’s Nov. issue
Ronstadt & Associates met Dover’s objectives - the morning of the ribbon cutting, more than 100 guests lined up for their free gift. This was a phenomenal number compared to previous ribbon cuttings. As the doors opened, Dover executives watched as the new store filled with enthusiastic shoppers. While the company could not divulge specific sales, Dover said that the total number was extremely high and the sales continued all weekend long. They were thrilled with the results. We were hired to help open four more Dover stores.