Guests to Customer Appreciation Day listened attentively as Amanda Griffith presented the mobile dairy demonstration which provided them with a great opportunity to learn more about dairy cattle as well as how their milk is produced and marketed.
Mid-State Farmers Co-op found a great way to say "thank you" to their customers this year. On February 25, 2010, the balloon-lined fence row led faithful patrons and new customers to the Columbiana store for its Customer Appreciation Day. Co-op members and visitors alike were greeted by a number of interesting exhibits and activities.
One exhibit that was hard to miss was the Mobile Dairy Classroom complete with a live Holstein cow to demonstrate milking techniques. Onlookers were able to learn where their milk comes from and how it gets to consumers.
During Mid-State Farmers Cooperative’s Customer Appreciation Day, professional Labrador trainers from Puddle Duck Labs conducted retrieving demonstrations fashioned after duck hunts with the anxious, but obedient, labs on hand.
Another exciting exhibit was Puddle Duck Labs. Periodically during the four-hour event, professional Labrador trainers from Puddle Duck Labs would conduct retrieving demonstrations fashioned after duck hunts with the anxious, but obedient, labs on hand.
Other "live" exhibits included goats from two local farms and show heifers on loan from a local FFA member. SPORTMIX® pet food, Hustler Lawnmowers, Rainbow Fertilizer, AFC Feed Division, and Baby G Arts and Crafts completed the list of exhibitors for the Customer Appreciation Day, which Manager Chris Duke plans to make an annual event.
Store Manager Chris Duke took his son to see the show cattle on hand for the Day. The calves belong to local FFA members and were exhibited in the Southeastern Livestock Exposition just two weeks after the event.
"We wanted to do something for the customers to say ‘thank you,’" Duke said. "We haven’t had an event like this in several years, so we decided to have one. We thought it would be a good idea to tie the event in with the rodeo and make it an annual event."
Mid-State Farmers Co-op is a sponsor of the town’s long standing annual rodeo organized by the Shelby County Cattlemen’s Association. According to Duke, the rodeo is celebrating its 23rd anniversary this year.
Duke considered the Customer Appreciation Day a success and noted that over 250 attended the fun-filled event. He also mentioned those in attendance seemed to enjoy the day’s events. But he noted the event wasn’t just a success for the attendees; it was beneficial for the business of the store as well.
"Everyone had a good time socializing and visiting, and we had a good day in sales for us as well," Duke said.
The success of the event gives promise of making the Customer Appreciation Day not only an annual event, but one Duke plans to expand next year.
"We had a lot of people tell us how much they enjoyed it, and they wanted to do it again and make it bigger," Duke said. "A lot of people want us to bring more animals next year. I think they’d like to see some horses, so maybe next year we’ll add some pony rides. There have been other requests for chickens, so we may have them too."
Duke said it’s beneficial for the customers to gain more insight into where their food comes from and develop a deeper knowledge of the animals.
"There were a lot of educational opportunities there for the customers being able to see the dairy cow and goats," Duke said. "It was very informational and a great way for us to say ‘thank you.’"
Duke also noted the event gave him and his staff the chance to learn about the interests of his patrons as well, providing the employees of Mid-State a chance to better serve their customers.
"The Customer Appreciation Day provided us with feedback on what people are interested in," he said. "We had a lot of people mention they’d like to see chickens and horses, so that lets us know there may an interest in folks getting into those hobbies."
Duke was sure to note how thankful he was for folks coming out to take part in the Customer Appreciation Day and making the event such a big success. He specifically thanked Mid-State Farmers Co-op’s Assistant Manager Jamie Griffin for his hard work in planning the event and Efco Power Equipment for its sponsorship of the Customer Appreciation Day and Rodeo.
Grace Smith is an associate editor for AFC Cooperative Farming News.