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Martinez attributes his early success to his own determination to make his Menchie’s a part of the San Fernando community. His local efforts to build brand awareness came from his own initiative rather than the Menchie’s corporate marketing strategies, he said.
“In the beginning, when we started, I was a little frustrated with the advertising. I felt they were really lacking on that. We paid into the advertising fund but never felt we got anything from it. A lot of the advertising that led to a lot of our success was my own doing. We just reached out to everybody in the community.”
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Partnering With Papa John’s
He even partnered with another franchisee in the community: When he ordered pizza for his employees one night, he saw that Papa John’s advertised other businesses on its pizza boxes, so he began offering a coupon for Menchie’s on the delivery boxes.
He contracted with a company to distribute door hangers in residential neighborhoods. And he made the party room at his Menchie’s available to various community organizations, such as the local PTA, to hold their meetings for free. In return, members would purchase frozen yogurt while they were there, helping to drive sales.
One of the most unique partnerships Martinez formed was with a dance studio that was located near his store. He invited the instructor to use his party room for a dance class. It was a win-win for the class and for Martinez. The dancers provided entertainment for his guests and the dance class got to utilize the big space for free.
“For our customers, it was kind of neat to come in and see people dancing,” he said.
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Martinez would also host fundraisers for school groups and community organizations, donating 10-20 percent of his sales for an evening to various groups. For school events, he would give away items such as buttons, pencils, and stickers with the Menchie’s logo to help build brand awareness.
There are 26 schools in the area around his store and Martinez said he has “adopted” at least 20 of them by helping to raise funds for various purposes and providing donations.