By Hannah Wallace August 31, 2009

Steve Litschauer

CEO, On A Shoestring

We have chosen to take a three-part approach with our running and walking store, focusing on direct marketing to physicians, runners and customers. We send samples of our products to orthopedic physicians and podiatrists to increase awareness, for example. We are present at running events, sometimes sponsoring shirts and registration fees to reach out to runners. We also like to keep in touch with our customers through our online newsletter that offers something for everyone, from casual walkers to serious runners.

We offer on-site clinics and seminars for the general public and nonprofit organizations. These clinics are designed to educate and inform customers rather than to simply promote our products. Past clinics featured speakers on nutrition, orthopedic surgery, physical therapy, massage therapy, clothing and footwear, and past Olympic runner Todd Williams.

We are thankful that our store has tripled in sales over the last three years. Our goal is to bring more customers through our door, where our employees can then meet and greet them. We feel that a customer’s experience should be more than simply a purchase.

Thomas Seguin


Suncoast Gem Lab

Our most innovative strategy is to be adaptable to changes in the market. Suncoast Gem Lab has been in business for 25 years, and our sales have remained constant despite current economic conditions. By adjusting to the needs of the marketplace, we have become more focused on appraisals, liquidation of estate jewelry, purchasing gold and bridal sales. Many of our clients have been remounting their existing jewelry instead of buying new, so we accommodate our services to fit their needs.

In appreciation of our good fortune, we intend to contribute more of our time and resources to the community this year. We are actively involved with a rock climbing fund raiser, “Climbing for Dollars,” benefiting the United Way of Manatee County. Boulder, Colo., was selected as the site for “Climbing for Dollars” because of its fantastic reputation as a climbing destination. I plan to participate again this year.

Community contributions are truly a win-win; I am able to combine my passion for rock climbing with helping others locally.

Peter Nesbitt


Quasar Bio-Tech

At Quasar Bio-Tech, we have tried to shift our focus to selling products directly to consumers. Before this transformation began, we sold our light therapy devices for anti-aging and acne primarily to medical professionals. In an effort to reach more consumers, we have implemented direct marketing campaigns and have established a presence in shopping areas.

We have plans to advertise on home shopping networks and direct response television, or DRTV, in long and short form. In addition to television sales, Quasar products are now available in Dillard’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

Selling our devices directly to consumers has proven to be a profitable strategy. In the future, we have hopes of working with companies such as Wal-Mart and CVS to increase consumer awareness. We have considered expanding our operations locally and ultimately would like to have Quasar in every household. ■

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