Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, May 22, 2006

Boothing it

So back to the Mead Chamber of Commerce. Back when they were in full-on courtin mode, they talked us into having a booth at their Car Show in May. Sounded like fun so we agreed.

We also committed to have a booth at Longmont Humane Society's Furry Friends Festival which includes a fundraising walk as well as Mutt Main Street for all sorts of dog related businesses.

We just didn't know that they were both on the same day. Huum. How to handle 2 booths, boarder dogs AND riding lessons between the three of us? Well, we lucked out because business turned out to be very slow. Heh -- not many new business owners would celebrate that, but there are times, you know? We have a very light lesson roster this time, so Ginger was able to shift a few students and have no lessons. Then we also had only 2 boarder dogs -- albeit they were not the two dogs scheduled to be there but two entirely other dogs we hadn't expected until Friday.

Dave and I have volunteered for the FFF before, back when he volunteered for the Longmont Humane Society. So I knew it'd be a busy crew of folks with their dogs. Exactly a market we need to hit. They, however, estimated only 350 attendants. That still seems low to me, but oh well.

The Car Show -- we were told would draw 1000 people. And it's Mead - a close in market we need to hit. So who would do which one? Classic and souped up cars all day long... yeah, David got that job. Even though they estimated 3 times the number of people, we couldn't envision having more staff at the car show than the FFF, so Ginger and I headed over for that one. Since we only have one banner for each business, Dave got the horse one by default.

The booth next to us had their own pair of dogs. They were a natural dog food maker, so it was clear they've done the booth thing a lot. Well, one of their dogs was convinced our tent was a much better tent, so Cash hung out with us most of the morning.

But we had a great time talking to everyone and meeting their dogs. At the last minute the night before I'd decided to print out a bunch of our photos showing dogs at play. We had the laptop with us, but I started panicing that no one would be able to see the slideshow in the daylight, and I was right. So we had a photo album with us, and Ginger started flipping through to find pictures of dogs of the same breed that this customer had. Showing them how much fun those Jack Russel Terriers have at Happy Tails Dog Ranch! It was inspired as it got people talking about their dogs.

What astonished us was that there was only one other Dog Daycare / Boarding operation at the event! And the one that came we know isn't in Longmont. So we talked to lots of people looking for boarding. Looking for boarding that is closer than where they currently go, etc. I also got to meet someone I've been corresponding with through the DDC forum. She ownes a daycare not far from where I work so I've been meaning to stop in on my way home some day. Hasn't happened yet, but now that we've connected personally I hope that will be a motivator for me.

The Car Show I guess was smaller than anticipated, and very few folks showed with dogs. Dave had some people stop by, but not that many. But hopefully it helped get our name out. And Dave didn't hate sitting around checking out the cars. (I know this because when I arrived I got a detailed description of the nearby cars - model and year, horse power and... a bunch of other stuff that pretty much got a blank response out of me.)

The FFF ended earlier than the car show, so the plan was for us to skedattle back to the ranch to let the dogs out and then I would go over and help Dave. As there clearly was no rush to get to the car show, I grabbed a bite to eat before leaving. There was a message on the phone from someone who saw our booth at the FFF. AND she ended up booking $500 worth of boarding!



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