Midwest Mountaineering celebrates ROTY award with rockin’ party!

Midwest Mountaineering took the concept of a customer appreciation party in honor of its ROTY award to new levels, according to our team who has been helping retailers put on Retailer of the Year parties for several months now. Learn what the retailer did that was special…and then make plans for us to party at your store next year.

There is simply NO better way to appreciate your customers than by holding a customer appreciation party in their honor. And having the support of SNEWS and Backpacker magazine because you were a Retailer of the Year award winner makes the party even sweeter.

While all the Retailer of the Year store parties Sheri and Randy Propster — Backpacker Get Out More Tour official ambassadors and de facto ROTY party hosts from SNEWS — have attended this year have been outstanding, Midwest Mountaineering simply took the word “party” to a whole new level, according the pair.

Consider that store staff had to make two extra trips to the liquor store as the beer keg kept running dry.

Owner Rod Johnson told SNEWS®, “Our customer appreciation party was so successful because we made a big deal about it.”

In addition to notifying 27,000 customers on its mailing list, the store put up a 30- by 30-foot awning to provide shelter from the weather if needed – which, in this case, proved to be a hot sunny day. In addition, the store:

  1. Spent several hundred dollars to have a local and recognized band play.
  2. Grilled up brats and garden burgers (customers reportedly plowed through 300 brats and 146 burgers).
  3. Provided a specially baked celebration cake.
  4. Set up an award wheel where every customer won something for spinning.
  5. Provided a coupon for 20 percent off any one item in the week leading up to the party and also at the party.

Johnson, an amateur magician, also spent a lot of time interacting with families and handing out magic tricks to kids for added fun and entertainment (photo to right).

For Midwest Mountaineering, the day was such a success that Johnson said they’ve already decided, whether or not the store wins another ROTY award, to hold a customer appreciation party themselves each year.

“This showed us just how much it makes sense to appreciate our customers in this way. It was so much fun for everyone,” Johnson told SNEWS.

Plus, it wasn’t a bad day at the register either…with around $25,000 in receipts, we were told.

Will you let us hold a customer appreciation party in your store in 2011? SNEWS and Backpacker would be all too happy to help you celebrate being recognized as one of the best outdoor retailers in the United States. But, no one wins unless they are nominated, so get busy today by having your staff, your customers, your reps, anyone you can think of, nominate you by clicking here. There is NO limit on the number of nominations a store can receive — the more, the merrier.

One retailer will be awarded the title “Retailer of the Year,” and six others will be honored as best-in-class in each of the following categories: Sustainable Business, Community, Youth Involvement, Growth of Outdoor Sports, Conservation, and Best Online Retailer. In all categories, winning retailers must display exemplary efforts in customer loyalty and service, employee training and retention, as well as demonstrate excellent merchandising skills.

Retailer of the Year winners will be announced at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2011 during a special ceremony, and each winner will receive a plaque suitable for public display in a store, so winners can promote their accomplishment. Click here to read the SNEWS story highlighting the 2010 Retailer of the Year award winners.

In addition to a fantastic customer appreciation party, each retailer will receive:

  • A store profile in a Retailer of the Year Showcase on
  • Prominent mention in a Retailer of the Year feature in Backpacker’s Gear Guide.
  • A digital image of the SNEWS/Backpacker Retailer of the Year logo suitable for use as a window decal, award recognition on all letterhead, brochures and other store publications, and display on a website.

Entry Deadline: Oct. 1, 2010

Nominate your favorite retailer today by clicking here.… Heck, nominate yourself if you think you’re worthy….but don’t delay. Time is running out!

–Michael Hodgson