Contacts: Sid & Vicki Stevens, co-owners of Stevens Furniture Rental (Bryan, TX)
When the economy turned soft last year, Sid and Vicki Stevens refused to panic. In business for 23 years, the owners of Steven Furniture Rental in Bryan, TX, have lived through downturns before. They know that when consumers are hesitating on big purchases, they’re more likely to consider rent-to-own options, the Stevens’ specialty. “We do electronics, appliances and furniture,” said Sid, in Vegas this week for the Nationwide Marketing Group’s semi-annual PrimeTime conference. “Our business is really good right now.”
The Stevens credit their success partly to being in a college town, home of Texas A&M, where everyone knows them, and partly to some new marketing strategies they’ve developed. “We don’t even advertise these days,” said Sid. “We have our own incentives.”
One of the recent promotions that has worked best for the Stevens is a cash-back referral program. “If you refer a customer who opens an account with us, we’ll give you $25,” said Sid. “If that referral still has an account with us in 90 days, we’ll give you $50 more...not store credit, cash.” The Steven say the cash-in-hand program spread like wildfire throughout their small town, delivering more customers and strengthening their relationships with the people who were already using their services. It can get expensive, but the Stevens say it’s worth it. “We’d spend that much on advertising anyway,” said Sid.