Local Businesses Take Drastic Measures

October 21, 2008 10:04:51 PM PDT
Some companies are taking drastic measures to save their businesses, even begging customers to help the keep employees around. And they're doing it through television ads. "What we're trying to do is find a way to keep our employees employed," Gamel RV Center Owner Dan Gamel said in his latest TV ad.Gamel is pleading with customers to buy their RV's now so he won't have to lay off more employees. In exchange, buyers make no payments for six months. "You get the satisfaction of knowing you're helping other middle class families just like you," the ad said.

Earlier this year, Gamel had to close down several of his RV stores. Employees hope this new ad will help the company stay afloat. "We owe it to him, but we were fearful we would lose our jobs," Gamel RV Internet Salesperson TJ Risco said. "That's the one thing he does mostly is work with lenders to try and secure financing so he can keep customers happy," Gamel RV Sales Director Frank Kozub said.

Dr. William E. Rice, a marketing professor at Fresno State, said Gamel's ad is one of several new tactics businesses are trying out to boost sales. "I've seen things off and on, but not as on grandiose a scale as we're looking at. Everyone is panicking right now," Rice said.

Other companies are telling customers to get their holiday shopping done earlier this year or to put gifts on hold. "Exclusive KMART layaway," a Kmart ad stated.

And shoppers are taking the bait. Some are using the layaway option for the first time and prefer it over accruing debt on their credit cards. "It's too much interest. A little amount will really get you in trouble," Shopper Sarah Fynaut said.

Kmart's layaway plan allows customers to pay off their purchase over eight weeks. And the "buy now pay later" offer from Gamel will run until at least the end of the month.

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