National Furniture Outlet

"I'm a ridiculous football fan," Randy Wingard told us. "I am a football information machine. I can tell you about any team or player's detailed history. For example, the NFL College draft is two

When the Saints march in...

When the saints march in, there is instant excitement at National Furniture Outlet. Their "Special Home Town Team Sale" ad featuring logo emblazoned upholstered items attracted attention. Shown standing (from left to right) above are Charlie Durham, sales and Randy Weigand manager of the Westwego, Louisiana store. Seated is Matthew Gomez, owner/president, George Taix, manager and Raassan Holmes, sales.

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When Duke plays UNC how about..."

(A) Pictured left to right are some of National Furniture Outlet's employees at the event. Standing are Edith, Adinis, Lorainny, and Paula. Seated left to right are Amanda, Julia, Patricia, JoAnn and Audrey. Jeannie is kneeling in front.
  • B) Seated and waiting to greet customers are Saints wide receiver Lance Moore, running back Pierre Thomas, agent/consultant Mike Harris and wide receiver Marques Colston.
  • C) Line of fans and customers waiting to meet the players and get autographs signed.

days long and is broadcast for 18 hours. Most people watch the first round or maybe the first day. I record and watch all 18 hours straight!"

Randy is a Manager at National Furniture Outlet in Westwego, Louisiana. He believes that wherever there's sport, there is also passion and opportunity for profit. "After Hurricane Katrina, the whole region was Saints crazy. The region got behind the team as a symbol of the city. For a city that lost everything, it was something that could not be taken away."

Owned by Eddie Gomez and his son, Matthew Gomez, National Furniture has been in business in Westwego for 21 years. "At one time we had only three sales people and one manager. We now have 10 sales people, 16 truck drivers and warehouse personnel, and six managers. In 1992, the store was about 9,000 square feet with a back room for a warehouse. Sixteen years later, the store is 20,000 sq. ft. with three warehouses."

When the Saints march in, there's instant excitement at National! "We first started in 2006 giving away two tickets to every Saints game. Just as a little something for the customers. One entry per purchase helped to make sure we were rewarding paying customers. In 2007, I went with Matthew to the Tupelo MS Furniture Market. We saw the Baseline licensing group. Being sports fans ourselves, it caught our eye immediately! We placed one order to try it out. The New Orleans Saints products sold right away.

"Baseline's head of marketing, Jay Shurling, sent one of his investment partners over to meet with us. It turned out that he was connected with several prominent athletes, including members of the New Orleans Saints. He suggested that we have Saints' players come by and tie the appearance with product promotion.

"We had a huge promotion on May 10, 2008. The players' agent actually sent three players by (for a fee). They filmed a few commercials for us, signed autographs and took pictures with the customers and employees. We took it a bit further by having free food and drinks by hiring barbecue catering. We had give-aways every 15 minutes, with the final give-away being a free recliner with a Saint's logo.

"Approximately 500 people came through the store that day, about five times normal traffic. At least 150 of them had never been to our store before. It was about 50/50 women and men but almost every one of them had a child with them! Sales were a little better, but we knew that day would be difficult to sell the furniture. The goal was for the people who came to have such a happy experience they would come back again and again. Especially those who had never been here before!

"As far as what didn't work, the food was a bad idea. The cost of the food, the tables, the cleaning and the general hassle of the food, was not worth the time or effort. I guess the best way to put it, the food did not bring in any customers that were not coming anyway.

"We told the players that we would do something again on a smaller scale during the season. We had a weekday promotion with two of the Saints' players. (Due to the Football Season, it could not be on a Saturday.) We still had free autographs and free pictures, but no food. We gave free gifts, (Fatheads, pictures and rugs), and a free recliner. It was much easier the second time around. We knew what to expect and had about 200 less people due to having one less player and having it on a Tuesday.

"We still give away tickets to every home game, still one entry per purchase, with the entries that don't win tickets going in the drawing for the Saints' recliner at the end of the season.

"It's interesting that the economic downturn has not really affected our Sports promotions. We definitely plan on having more Saints' players here in the

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The downturn has not « affected our sports promotions."

Olindes promotes sports themed furniture built around college teams, baseball and NASCAR. Shown is a print ad for their their recent "Big Game Celebration" promotion touting recliners and HDTV's delivered before the big game. Also shown is Conway Furniture's foray into racing sponsorships.

future. It's a sure way to generate excitement for the customers as well as the sales crew."

National doesn't really work with little league events. We may donate to a local playground, and they'll put our sign up, but no promotions."

Randy admits he's "a big Saints fan. But I'm an even bigger fan of football in general." He is also "a moderate basketball fan. I follow the NBA, but there's not much more room in my brain for any other stats or information other than football!"

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