The premise was simple as it was enticing: What could be better than a bunch of fashion-loving women relaxing in the comfort of a mountain cabin, sipping complimentary wine and talking about boots—Bearpaw boots, in particular? Last week, that’s exactly what the folks at Bearpaw delivered in hosting its first-annual “Wine, Women & Boots” event inside The Summit at Bearpaw Village, its new flagship in the company’s hometown of Citrus Heights, CA.
Randy McKinley, vice president of marketing, reports the event was a wild success, as more than 200 people passed through the doors during the four-hour open house. “The goal was to get people into the store to really get to know us,” he says. In fact, selling shoes was secondary. “We wanted to create a social event—a ‘ladies night out’-type of activity—and be a part of the local community.” Nonetheless, McKinley reports close to 250 pairs of boots, sandals and accessories were sold. “We were shocked by the total,” he confirms. “The reception to our new spring collection was very well received—the Lily flip-flop, specifically. We heard comments like, ‘I didn’t know you guys did this style; these are so cute. I love the colors and they’re so comfortable.’”
Knowing that the event would draw in a broad mix of customers—fueled largely by a local radio personality doing a live remote from the store partking lot encouraging women to stop in—McKinley says the company also decided to test market some apparel pieces. “We’ve been looking at apparel now for a couple of season and this gave us great feedback,” he says. Sweetening the night, McKinley notes that local businesses partnered with Bearpaw to offer door prizes like restaurant gift certificates and gym memberships. “Every customer walked away with something,” he says, adding that the local retail community sticks together. “Everyone tries to generate excitement. It was a total team effort.”
In addition to the full-on Bearpaw product selection, McKinley says the store’s unique and inviting ambiance wowed guests. “Walking in to The Summit automatically puts you at ease,” he says. “It’s not your typical retail store with its oversized fireplace, large leather sofas and high wood ceilings. It really enhances the overall shopping experience and emphasizes our brand ethos: comfort, natural and sensible.” McKinley adds that it’s all paert of building a brand relationship with consumers that goes well beyond pricing. “In today’s economy, consumers want to know they are getting their money’s worth, but I also believe they want to do business with brands they know and trust,” he says. “This event gave consumers the opportunity to see what else we do—like our social responsibility programs that showcase our ‘pay it forward’ mentality. It was just an enjoyable evening to sit and talk with customers to get that message across.”