Earlier this year, we introduced ShopRescue.org, a free rescue service for local independent retailers who could use a little digital marketing help.
The idea was born out of hearing the story of a local retailer, put in an uncomfortable position by someone who didn’t believe in retailers. Since our first company value is #BelieveInRetailers, we decided to stop by, grab lunch, and let the store know we cared. The reaction was amazing and it inspired us to do more. Enter our first ever ShopRescue.
ShopRescue is, at its very core, exclusively for local independent retailers who could use a bit of a marketing pick up. We started by choosing one shop a month, which brings us to our very first winner!
ShopRescue received many submissions from independent, locally-owned businesses all over the country. After weeks of voting, our Customer Advisory Board (comprised of marketers from brands Pepsi, Timberland, Trek, and Reebok) chose Floor Connection of Vidor, Texas, submitted by Amber Woodward Norris on behalf of her parents.
Actually, Amber, unbeknown to her parents, submitted her family’s business into ShopRescue when she realized that their ability to reach new customers with digital marketing was falling short and needed some assistance. Amber explained:
“The flooring industry is a viable long term business and I want to take any steps I can to ensure that our services are available to our community for many years to come.”
Amber’s main concern is that Floor Connection does not have much of a digital presence, not even a website (one of the most valuable digital marketing tools available). With the help of ShopRescue, Amber hopes to establish a dedicated website for Floor Connection so they can enhance their digital presence and better-connect with their customers by directing them to their website, rather than a brand’s national site.
The traditional way of advertising a business via print ads may still be applicable to older customers, but the truth of the matter is that the younger generation is heavily involved in the digital space.
“If you’re going to sell to the 30-somethings, the ones re-modeling their houses right now, you’ve got to get on their level. When they want to buy something, they don’t go to the newspaper, they go online.”
By establishing a digital presence for Floor Connection, the business can rest assured that their target market can (and will) find them during their online search.
Floor Connection was first opened in 1988 by Dickey and Jodi Woodard in the small town of Vidor, Texas. Dickey Woodard, originally a flooring installer for Sears, turned his Sears installation job into one that ran several crews of installers out of a warehouse in town. His decision to purchase a warehouse led to his community’s interest in floors and how to purchase them.
After many came to the warehouse looking to buy, the Woodards opened Floor Connection to sell and install floors to their local community. In the mid-90s, after many successful years at their Vidor location, the Woodard family opened a second location in Beaumont, Texas. Amber recalls working at the second location throughout high school and college with her mother. Due to limited staff, the second location closed in 2009 to help the family re-focus on their main Vidor location, rather than spreading themselves too thin.
Since 1988, Floor Connection has been very well-respected and successful in its community. Not only does the business hold a strong tie to Vidor as a family-run store, but the family also gives back to the community as much as they can. Dickey and Jodi have both dedicated time and energy as Presidents of the Chamber of Commerce in Texas.
As with any small business, there is a constant need to outweigh surrounding retail competition. Amber explains:
“When small town people know who you are, it makes you think that you don’t need to advertise. As times change, especially with digital marketing, we can’t compete with Home Depot and solely depend on our small town customers anymore.”
For several years, Amber helped her family’s business with their digital marketing efforts, but eventually had to focus on developing her own career.
“The biggest challenge with digital marketing is having the appropriate knowledge and time for it,” Amber says. “Having experienced growth and downsizing over the years, I would cherish an opportunity to learn and help implement more up-to-date digital marketing efforts for Floor Connection.”
With only one location and limited floor space, Floor Connection chooses the brands they sell based on the support they receive.
“If we don’t have good support from the brand, we pull them,” Amber explains. “We can’t provide quality customer service if we’re not getting good service from the level up.”
As a family-run business of 25+ years, I asked Amber what her family hoped the future would bring:
“We hope to keep the business going and to help my parents find that comfortable balance between work and retirement. They don’t want to feel like they have to close the store. My parents love what they do because at the end of the day, whether it’s selling floors or not, they’re building relationships and making people happy. That’s the most important part.”
Stay tuned to find out how our first ShopRescue mission with Floor Connection goes!