A unique marketing strategy
|November’s End = winner The Writer's Cramp 11/30/2019|
The sudden cold snap caused all the leaves to fall one night. One day they were there, one day they were on the ground. Crackling leaves. You had to walk through all the frozen leaves to get to the shop on Broadway.
The shop was called November’s End. It only opened the day after Thanksgiving, on Black Friday, for the Christmas rush. All year Molly Robinson collected trinkets and gewgaws she felt shoppers would find attractive for their Christmas trees. She specialized in the hard-to-find, the unusual, the other-worldly. People came from miles around, even other states, for the treasures they could find in Molly’s shop.
November’s End was open from the day after Thanksgiving til the first day of December. That was it. The calendar determined the number of days the shop was in business each year. Impossible, was the consensus of the other business owners nearby. They couldn’t imagine how this woman stayed in business year after year.
So this year, the year all the leaves fell in one night and then crunched under your feet, the business owners decided they needed to find out what the deal was. They needed to get to the bottom of this mystery. So plans were made. A committee was formed. Very specific goals were defined and it was determined there was to be an interrogation of Molly Robinson. They would find out about her business plan. They would find out how she was able to stay in business while they were struggling year after year. Perhaps they could learn something, was the general consensus.
John Butler was the chairperson. He selected Harriet Milton and Bill Trenton to accompany him to interrogate Molly Robinson. The call was made, and Molly Robinson opened her shop early to welcome the committee. They walked into ‘November’s End’ on the last day it was open, November 30th. The shop still was full of merchandise, they noted. All sorts of Christmas ephemera filled the small space. The three committee members looked at each other in amazement.
“Have a seat,”said Molly Robinson. The committee members sat where Molly indicated. She poured them all hot tea and passed out Christmas cookies. “I am so glad you three stopped by. How may I help you?”
John Butler started the conversation. “Well, Miss Molly, we wanted to come and visit with you a bit. We represent the businesses in town.”
“Yes, sir. I am aware of that. You own the wonderful shop just two doors down, correct?” Molly looked at John with a big smile.
“Um, yes, that’s right. Harriet and Bill here also are business owners. We are here as representatives of the town’s businesses on a mission to understand how you do it.” He looked to Harriet and Bill for moral support. The other two committee members were busy eating cookies and drinking tea, as well as looking at the contents of Molly’s shop.
“How do I do what, John?” Molly’s question was truly innocent. She looked at the trio with a face so open and guileless it made him uncomfortable.
Harriet spoke up. “How do you stay open for only a few days a year and make such a success of it?” She drank her tea and ate another cookie.
“The rest of the businesses have to be open every second of every day and we barely make ends meet. We need to know your business plan.” Bill sat back in his chair. He had said his assigned speech.
Molly smiled and looked at each of the committee members. Then she got up and wandered to the back of the shop and got the tea pot and more cookies. The teacups were refilled and the cookie plate was refilled. Molly sat down and told them her secret.
“I have a going out of business sale each day.”
“That’s your secret? That’s your business plan?”
“You’re crazy, there has to be more to it than that.”
The three business owners looked at each other and shook their heads. They had attended many seminars about marketing, spent thousands on advertising, and many sleepless nights worrying about sales. It couldn’t be this easy.
“Nope. No secret. My customers think each day that I may close. So they rush in here and buy everything. Every night when the doors close, the shelves are empty. I restock every morning.”
“I don’t believe it.” John stood up, threw down his napkin. “I have to be going. Thanks for the tea and cookies, Molly.” He marched out of the shop.
Bill and Harriet looked at each other.
“Well, good luck, Molly. Sounds goofy, but if it works for you, well then…” Harriet also left the shop. But she looked at a few things on the way out, thinking she may come back later to buy something.
Bill stayed at the table. He looked long and hard at Molly. “I gotta say, Miss Molly Robinson, that is the goofiest marketing plan I have ever heard. It should not work. ‘Going out of Business’ every day sale indeed.” He rose and he left the shop.
Molly just smiled. She put away the teapot, the cookie plate, and got ready for the last day of November. After all, it was “November’s End”.