Mr. Orr and his wife April opened Olympus Granite on Bobby Jones Expressway last June.
Before buying the store, both Mr. and Ms. Orr had considerable experience in granite countertop retailing and as entrepreneurs. They purchased the current business from a struggling owner, changed its name, and locations.
"The store had been on Washington Road in Evans. But we wanted to be in a location with more traffic. Now, we have 100,000 cars a day pass by," says Mr. Orr. "That's interstate type traffic."
For the first few months, most visitors were drawn into the showroom by the giant slabs of polish granite placed along the side of the road.
"They are like giant billboards," says Ms. Orr. "Curious drivers would pull in to see what we were all about. That's how we got most of our first customers."
"During our first three months our sales were averaging $100,000," says Mr. Orr. "We were paying the bills, but we needed more to help us to grow."
Mr. Orr believed radio advertising could accelerate sales. But, his wife was skeptical".
"Money is tight when you start a business," says Ms. Orr, "We were spending money left and right. We were paying suppliers, paying rent, and hiring employees. I didn't think we could afford to advertise. Also, I didn't think anyone listened to the radio anymore."
Ms. Orr's misconception is shared by many small business owners who believe that CSRA consumers have abandoned Augusta radio for all things digital including, Facebook, Instagram, Pandora, and Spotify. Market research, however, does not support this.
According to Nielsen, the world's largest consumer insights company, Augusta radio reaches more adults every week than local TV, newspaper, social media, and audio streaming sites.
This is especially true among CSRA consumers planning to remodel their kitchens or bathrooms over the next 12 months. These are the people who buy the countertops that Olympus Granite sells.
Despite their reservations, the Orrs decided to invest in a radio promotion as part of their official grand opening in October. This included a live, remote broadcast in the store's parking lot to give away concert tickets. The radio station began promoting the event in September.
"We did very well that day," says Ms. Orr. "More than 500 people showed up. We actually sold five or six countertops during the event."
"During our first full month of our radio advertising," says Mr. Orr, "our sales doubled. I attribute most of our growth to what we were doing on-the-air."
Augusta radio worked so well for Olympus Granite, the Orrs committed to a year-long advertising plan across six local stations.
The once skeptical Ms. Orr says, "When we started advertising, I learned a lot of people do listen to Augusta radio. I ask every customer who comes into the showroom what brought them in. Some say they just were driving by. Some say they saw our Facebook posts. But most customers say they heard us on the radio."
"Our radio advertising has allowed us to achieve our first year's sales projections in just six months," adds Mr. Orr. "It has put us in the position where we have been able to open a second showroom in Columbia. And, we are eyeing a third location in Aiken."
The Orrs now agree that every new business should budget for advertising when it opens.
"It's not enough to turn on the lights and put up a sign, and then expect people to come in," says Mr. Orr. "You really need to advertise."
"You don't need to start big," he says. "You just need to start. A new business can't afford not to advertise."
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