Free jewelry from innovative marketing deal @Stucki Jewelers in Grass Valley

Official snow report

Needless to say, we are big fans of small business in our Sierra Foothill towns — “economic engines” in their own right. We also celebrate innovative marketing when we see it. And Stucki Jewelers of Grass Valley just “struck pay dirt” — pun intended — with a “free jewelry if it snows” promotion at Christmas.

It exemplifies how small merchants can distinguish themselves in a highly competitive market, not to mention our slow economic era.

Like Roper’s Jewelers in downtown Auburn (still run by Harvey Roper’s family and the store where I bought our son his first watch), Stucki Jewelers in historic Grass Valley at 148 Mill Street is an institution, with business roots going back more than 100 years. James Arbaugh and his wife, Nicole, have overseen the operations of Stucki Jewelers since 1994. The jewelry store previously was owned by the family of Lisa Swarthout, a longtime resident and City Council member. The Arbaughs also run Stucki Engravers down the street. We are customers of both.

Here’s how Stucki’s “free jewelry if it snows” promotion went: “Stucki Jewelers Free Jewelry If It Snows! Don’t miss out on the once-a-year opportunity to purchase jewelry on Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15 and if 1″ OF FRESH SNOW falls on Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25 from 12:01 am to 11:59 pm (24 hours total) with a snowfall totalling 1″ of fresh snow at the Nevada County Airport, your jewerly purchases will be complimentary. Read the complete rules and details here. We are fully insured, so take advantage of this great opportunity!”

James was clever enough to register a website “” to promote and explain the deal. Having embraced social media, he tracked and announced the results on Facebook:

“It’s official,” Stucki’s Facebook page read yesterday. “We got snow.” James included an email from the insurer and the official snow report.

“Per the Weather Command Report attached, 1.80 inches of snow was recorded during the insured date/time,” the email from the insurer said. “Therefore, it appears that a claim has been triggered!”

Stucki wrote on its Facebook page: “Please be bear with us as we need to get through the paper work with the insurance company…but we will be putting together a “CASH PARTY” to REFUND some very lucky customers!!! Of course we will be keeping you updated here, as well stay tuned to”

We also like a promotion where James and Nicole go to Antwerp, Belgium, to buy diamonds for their customers, accepting “pre-orders.” It is an innovative idea, just like the “Free if it snows” promotion.

If there’s a “silver lining” in the “cloud” of our prolonged economic downturn, it is some of the innovative marketing programs that small merchants are creating.

Good going Stucki Jewelers!

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