CONTACTS: John Varda, owner, McIntosh Appliance, Spencer, W.V.
John Varda (posing at right as the Maytag repairman) is not just a man with an appliance store, he’s his own brand. Each year after the holidays, Varda, owner of McIntosh Appliance in Spencer, West Virginia, hires a comic radio personality to fill the airwaves of his West Virginia town with clearance-sale spots like, “John’s cryyyyying ‘cause he’s losing all his profits!”
“People love making fun of me,” he says. “They’ll walk in the store and ask, ‘Where’s your towel, John? You wiping those tears away?’ But I’ll tell you, it cleans out my inventory at the end of the year.”
Varda spends half his promotional budget on radio, the other half on newspaper inserts to reach his target market area of 20,000 customers. He says he may change that mix in 2007, investigating direct mail to specific zip codes and running special 8 am-8 pm sales for his preferred customers. “I’m going to try it out,” says this one-man cult of personality. “I’ve never done it before...I haven’t done a website either, but I blame that on my kids.”