During a food drive at The+Source, customers donated more than 156,000 pounds of food to Three Square Food Bank in exchange for store credit.

In December 2017, The+Source, a medical and recreational dispensary with locations in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nev., ran a 12-day holiday promotion that: offered customers different product specials each day; included daily, on-site vendor pop-up events; and rewarded customers with store credit for donating non-perishable food items for a local food bank.

The food drive, which benefited Three Square Food Bank, collected more than 156,000 pounds of food, making it the largest food drive on behalf of Three Square last year. “While we always knew that the cannabis community was a generous one, even we were astounded by the deluge of donations received from our customers,” commented Brandon Wiegand, director of operations at The+Source, in a press release.

Based on the overwhelming success of the two-week event, Cannabis Dispensary asked The+Source’s purchasing manager, Courtney Barker, to share five tips for hosting a promotional event worth attending:

1. Involve Vendors Early

“We love our local vendor partners, so collaborating with our top-sellers is always a top priority,” Barker says. “We identified some of our most popular products and strategized our promotions based on customer selections and the price flexibility available. It took a few weeks to organize the details of each promotion, as we had new specials daily that continued through the end of a set time period.”

2. Support the Community

“We’re celebrating our first year of recreational sales in Nevada, and want to show our community the same gratitude and opportunities that we’ve had. We decided to add a charity component throughout our 12-day promotion and hold a food drive to donate to a local food bank, with in-store credit as an incentive for customers to bring in non-perishable food items,” she says.

3. Ensure Proper Staffing

“Staffing has been a huge focus as recreational sales have developed over the past several months,” Barker says. “The holiday season provided even more business, and we planned ahead to be able to accommodate our growing customer base and foot traffic. We typically have about 15 employees working throughout the day, and during our promotions, increase staffing by five to 10 employees daily,” she adds.

4. Give People What They Want

“By using our sales data and customer input, we were able to identify our most popular products and evaluate how flexible we could be in our pricing. We eventually settled on focusing on one vendor a day for 12 days,” Barker says, “which allowed us to promote many of our top vendors and coordinate the best prices we could for our customers.”

5. Spread Awareness

“Our promotions are only successful if our customers, patients and community are aware of what we’re doing,” Barker says. “Through our marketing and [public relations] efforts, we were able to distribute a detailed press release of our specials and target industry media. We also sent email and text message blasts to our subscribed database, distributed printed marketing materials and posted through our social media channels.”