‘Tis the season for customer and employee appreciation. Gone are the days of sending off a branded holiday greeting card as a token of your thankfulness. Some local businesses have come up with unique ways to show their gratitude as they close out the year.
Trish Cloonan, a Realtor® with Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty, loves to throw a good party. Pre-COVID, she was known for hosting an authentic Irish bash to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This year she decided to invite 100 clients—plus her neighbors—for an open house event on Nov. 19. “Before I got into real estate, I owned a catering company in the North Hills,” she said. “I’m the person in my family who cooks all the fancy meals for the holidays and other occasions.”
Her pro chef skills gave her a unique idea for a fun appreciation piece to add to her holiday party this year. She plans to have A & L Sharpening of O’Hara Township on-site to do knife sharpening for her guests. Her attendees are encouraged to bring up to two chefs’ knives they plan to use for preparing holiday meals to have them sharpened professionally and ready for action.
Additionally, any of her guests who would like to donate nonperishable food items or monetary donations to North Hills Community Outreach can bring them to the party for easier distribution. “It’s part of my commitment to my community,” Cloonan said. “I thought it would be a nice way for people to give back during the holidays—especially those that are so food-centric like Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
Tyler Boyer’s clients are going to wag their tails profusely when he hands out holiday gifts this year. The co-owner of Wandering Wags, he and his partner, Destany McCune, provide at-home pet care services to dogs in Cranberry, Mars, and Zelienople. The business launched in June, so this is their first foray into customer appreciation during the holidays.
Boyer said that he and his partner decided to gift their furry clientele with homemade rope toys. They used to sell them at pet events throughout the community, where the toys were always well-received by both pet owners and their furry family members. Unlike the coarser rope toys found in most pet stores, their handmade versions are softer and more durable, providing long-lasting fun for both dogs and their human companions.
“It takes a few hours to make them, but it’s so worth it because the dogs just love them,” said Boyer, adding that it takes between 60 and 90 minutes to make one rope toy. He and McCune expect to spend several days making a rope toy for each of their 50 regular customers.
“Being a new business, we’re so grateful for the clients who have trusted us, especially in this business,” said Boyer. “We really wanted to show our appreciation.”
Patrons of Up-n-Running in Valencia can enjoy a nearly month-long customer appreciation sale just in time for the holidays. Adriana Alatorre, store manager, said the athletic store has held its customer appreciation sale every year since it opened its doors in 2004. It starts on Black Friday and runs through December 24.
This year, customers can earn rewards based on their level of spending. Here’s how it works:
Spend $50, earn a pair of Up-N-Running gloves.
Spend $100 to $149.999, earn a pair of gloves plus a $10 gift certificate.
Spend $150 to $199.99, earn a pair of gloves plus a $20 gift certificate.
Spend $200 to $249.99, earn a pair of gloves plus a $30 gift certificate.
Spend $250 to $299, earn a pair of gloves plus a $40 gift certificate.
Spend $300 or more, earn a pair of gloves plus a $50 gift certificate.
“These certificates are redeemable for anything in the store between Dec. 26 and Feb. 15, 2023,” said Alatorre.
Customers can also earn rewards on top of the store’s loyalty program, which gives them 50 points for signing up for free, plus one point for every dollar spent. “One hundred points equals a $5 discount that never expires,” she said. “Adding your date of birth earns you a $10 birthday coupon.”
Energy Swing Windows of Monroeville incorporates a 12 days of giveaways event during the holiday season for all of its customers. The giveaways event is tied to the company’s annual Toys for Pittsburgh Tikes toy drive.
Paige Cermak, director of marketing, said all prior customers get five raffle tickets they can distribute in the drawing for several gift baskets the company has for rewards. Some of the baskets include Smart TVs, Roombas, and wine sets, to name a few.
Customers can earn additional raffle tickets by bringing in toys to donate. They earn 10 additional tickets for every toy donated.
“We’re really hoping to bring people in for the Toys for Pittsburgh Tikes because this year, there’s a lot of need,” she said. “Last year, thanks to our customers, we had the biggest company donation to the program.
“They filled up so many boxes,” she added. “You always hear people say our customers are the best, but ours really are. We’re depending on them to help the community.”
Participating in the 12 days of giveaways event is easy. Even if you’re not a customer, you can stop by Energy Swing Window’s Monroeville office at 1760 Golden Mile Highway with a toy and get tickets to participate in the prize giveaways. The event starts Nov. 16, and the drawing will happen on Facebook Live.