Several local businesses have turned to cheaper, alternative marketing methods, while others still rely on the word-of-mouth of their customer to drive business.
Perry Towns of Another’s Treasure Antiques located in downtown Villa Rica, is one of those who continues to use the word of others to draw business and it appears to be working.
“We do no advertisement whatsoever,” he said. “Everything is strictly word-of-mouth.”
Others are using Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets to pull in customers, including those outside of the retail industry.
“I use Facebook and I do e-mail blasts,” said Brandhie McGhee of B Still Healing Massage in Villa Rica. “I have coupon flyers I put out at everybody’s business who frequents my business and I don’t let anyone put anything at my business unless you use my business.”
Though only a few years old, the Villa Rica clothing and wine boutique Cherie Armand, also uses word-of-mouth advertising. However, its owners, Tatiana Valentine and Fransisco Costa, also use Facebook and plaster the Greek Village at the University of West Georgia with flyers promoting the business.
In terms of relatively cheap advertising, flyers have become a favorite of business owners to attract customers. Even Towns, who mainly relies on word-of-mouth advertising, said he puts fliers out at Fairfield Plantation to take advantage of the time-share customers there who spend part of their year in Villa Rica.
“Fairfield Plantation is one of the biggest time-shares in the country,” he said. “We have people from all over the United States who come back there year after year and come in to the antique shops. There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t get people from other states come into the antique shop who stay at Fairfield.”
Towns also suggested the city fund a billboard advertising the area’s unique restaurants, antique shops and other attractions.
Main Street Manager Kimberly Stovall said a billboard is already in the works and will be up in the fall and winter on Interstate 20 at the current site of the Pine Mountain Gold Museum billboard. Stovall described the sign as promoting downtown with something “generic,” but “clever,” to attract visitors.
“There’s an army of people who ride the highways looking for antique shops and they see a sign that says ‘Historic Downtown Villa Rica’ and they’ll get off to see what it is,” Towns said. “The number one thing that can be done in this town could be putting a billboard on the expressway that lists shops, restaurants, antique shops, whatever.”
In addition to the billboard idea, Stovall said many downtown business take advantage of free advertising on the Villa Rica Main Street Facebook page, which allows business owners to spread news about sales and other special events.
Villa Rica resident Prissi Sullivan was the recipient of a simple, but unique marketing strategy during the ice and snow storms earlier this year that she suggests would go a long way to helping businesses keep their personal relationships with their longtime customers.
“We could get out of our house after the snow storm, but nothing was open,” she said. “I was looking for a place to eat and everything was closed the first two days. On the third day I got a call from Patrick Henrickson of the Tin Roof Cafe telling me he was open. Not only did I come in come in, but I hauled five or six people with me.”