What are you most proud of in your 12 volt career?
For Mitch Schaffer, owner of Mobile Edge, a shop in Lehighton, PA and 1Sixty8 Media, the accomplishment that tops his list is his Coats for Kids drive, that will have collected as many as 10,000 coats by the end of the year.
The charity has been picked up by CompuStar who is working with 100 of its dealers and about 10 additional shops plus Mobile Edge.
In Lehighton, “it’s become a staple in our small community. People just bring us bags full of coats and call us and say, ‘Hey are you collecting coats yet.’ It’s bought a ton of good will to the store. The coats have been put to very good use and we make sure the coats stay in our general area,” said Schaffer, who launched the program about 10 years ago.
On a good year, Schaffer collects 500 coats through his shop and some of the dealers he works with do the same. CompuStar’s program is new this year, so it set a goal of collecting 1,000 coats.
The charity is also good for business. “It definitely translates into business. Just the general goodwill in the community. I believe people have a lot of respect for what we are doing and it makes them more likely to want to do business with us instead of big box stores,” Schaffer said. And we offer a discount if someone brings a new or gently used child’s coat. Then we give $25 off a one-way remote start system or $50 off a two-way system.”
This helps close sales on the sales floor. “If someone’s one the fence you can mention the program, and if you bring in a coat on the day of your appointment we’ll throw in an extra $50 off for you. It closes the deal. And it takes the ‘Can you get me a better deal’ question off the table. Our answer is always, ‘Absolutely, if you bring us a new coat…’”
Schaffer partners with local organization CareNet that helps women in distressed situations such as hiding from an abuser. “We occasionally get a call from a church or organization asking if we have any coats and we invite them down and they can take a bag or two if they want. Every single year, the local TV station does a segment. That’s helped a lot too.”
‘I’m very proud of what we did here in Lehighton and equally proud that we offer it to any dealer who wants to participate through 1Sixty8 Media [a digital marketing firm Schaffer founded that caters to 12 volt shops]. What we started 10 years ago in small town PA has helped countless children in the US and Canada.”
How did Schaffer get the idea of Coats and Kids? “I was sitting in my office at home working on an article for Mobile Edge around 2007, 2008. My wife had the news on and I overheard a story of a coat collection drive in a community about 70 miles away. It clicked. I was writing an article about remote starters and they are collecting coats for children who are cold. So what better tie in…” he said.
One other story fitting for Christmas…. We note that Rob Lewis of Extreme Audio and Performance, CT whose shop burned down while he was at KnowledgeFest this summer, has a new shop one block away from the old location on a main street and is 100 percent up and running.
“We got a lot of support from our vendors including JL Audio, Kenwood, Alpine, K40 and Compustar. We have double the traffic at this location…next to a Walgreen’s,” said Lewis.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!!!