The GreenStar Co-op in Ithaca, New York, will host—in collaboration with a few partners—a free back-to-school concert on the city's downtown commons. With socially conscious artist Talib Kweli headlining, they’re expecting a serious turnout. “This kind of concert, with an artist students can relate to, positions us clearly in their minds as a conscious business that is on the same side of issues that they are. We will use stage messaging to make that connection and get that point across,” said Joe Romano, GreenStar’s marketing manager.
Come up with your own concert—and maybe it won’t involve music at all. Here’s an idea that New Jersey-based Dean's Natural Food Market was considering, although it couldn’t become a reality this year: Open the store early for a special student-focused event. Invite kids to come in their pajamas while you serve juices or fruit—coffee for the parents!—and maybe some coloring books that kids can take home. Get them, and their parents, to feel welcome in your store.
Special pricing always helps, too. RJ Aguilar, marketing specialist for Dean's, said they're offering a month-long back-to-school sale that will highlight certain products and set up the store to try to sell everything in the special flyer.