WINFIELD, Ill. -- Frank's Family Markets has begun jump-starting holiday sales by breaking ads a week earlier and decorating departments weeks ahead.
And, judging from the retailer's Valentine's Day sales, which were up 10% to 15% over last year's, the strategy pays off.
"We started it Valentine's Day and we'll do it for other holidays," said Phillip Salerno, president of the four-unit independent.
Advertising Valentine's Day items two weeks in advance and having departments decorated more than two weeks before "reminded people the holiday was coming up," Salerno said.
The retailer also featured St. Patrick's day items two weeks in a row in its ad. "Since our ads break on Thursday, the second ad was on the 17th itself, and we made that one a combination St. Patrick's Day and St. Joseph's Day," Salerno said, adding that St. Joseph's Day is March 19.
"It's celebrated in the Italian neighborhoods. We add red to our green-and-white St. Patrick's decorations," for the colors of Italy.
The St. Patrick's-St. Joseph's ad featured both green-tinted potato rolls and bread, and zepoles, a filled doughnut that's a traditional St. Joseph's Day treat.