March 1, 2017

As most retailers understand, community outreach, such as sponsoring the local Little League team, donating to charities or hosting Chamber of Commerce events can create goodwill and increase name recognition. Last summer, a Midland, Michigan, hardware retailer went beyond the typical community outreach to engage with his town in a fun new way.

In an interview with Hardware Retailing magazine, Daniel Buzzell, general manager of Midland Ace Hardware and Sports, said he was wondering what to do with the large white wall outside the Midland building. He considered adding a mural as many retailers do, but realized the wall would make the perfect movie screen.

Movies on Main premiered in August 2016. Buzzell partnered with other local businesses to help sponsor the event and cover the costs, which ran around $800 per event for license fees, projector rental and portable bathroom rentals. The four movie nights were held each Wednesday in August, drew 100 people to each event and created a buzz among Midland’s customers.

“This was a test run to see if it’s something we want to do in the future,” Buzzell told Hardware Retailing. “This wasn’t a retail driver as much as it was a community event. Next year, we’d like to look for more business opportunities, such as offering some of our impulse items, like snacks and drinks for sale. There are also a lot of younger people in town who don’t realize we’re a locally owned business, and this gives us another way to promote that.”

Read more about the event here.

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