I read with interest a PJStar Letter To The Editor from Mr. Robert O'Donnell yesterday, lamenting the fact that several city eateries and businesses had gone under recently. He cited John Bee, Hunt's, VOP's, and Ben Franklin (I presume he was referring to the wonderful store in the Heights) as long-time Peoria businesses suddenly no longer with us.
I'm proud to say that although I've only been here nine years, I had visited all of them, save for John Bee, since I fell in love with a certain blonde, green-eyed native Peorian named Diane. She showed me all of these places. I even had lunch with NASCAR driver Ward Burton at VOP's, and he liked it, too.
Well, sad to say, they all have one thing in common...not one of them has advertised on a local radio station, to the best of my knowledge, in my nine years in town. Top of the Mind Awareness is important, and in a competitive world, more important than the excuse many businesses use when asked why they don't spend advertising dollars: "our best advertising is word of mouth." Umm, sorry, tain't so anymore.
You've got to keep the name out there. Plain and simple. Think about McDonald's. I'll bet everyone reading this can name the location of 10 McDonald's. Minimum. Yet there they are, the biggest in the world, still spending money every month with our AAA radio stations, and no doubt other local outlets as well.
"National chains are different", you say. Hmmm. Let's see. Bremer Jewelry. One store in Peoria, now opening a new one in Bloomington, constantly on our radio stations. Successful.
McDonald's Shell. Sterling Flower Shoppe. Bard Optical. Avanti's. All on the radio. All pretty local. All still open.
There's a bunch of great eateries Diane has introduced me too: Aggatucci's; Childer's; Polanza's. We're regulars now at all of 'em. And for the time being they're all doing well on the surface. But I'm begging the three of them right here: Keep your name out there. Before you become Hunt's.