They’re feeling the love at FlyLeaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC. The store received recognition in the Chapel Hill News after assisting stranded motorists during last week’s snow storm. Although public relations is part of the marketing mix, it’s not something you can buy. You can control it somewhat through business practices, and FlyLeaf’s story is public relations at its best.
FlyLeaf Books owner and general manager, Jamie Fiocco, told me, “The snow came in quickly last Wednesday. We received 5 inches in 2 hours. The university released administration, faculty and students at the same time. It didn’t take long for the main road where FlyLeaf is located to become a parking lot.”
Many motorists, unaccustomed to driving in snow, began abandoning their vehicles on the road in front of the bookstore. Although the weather caused the store to close at 2 pm, Fiocco and another employee stayed and allowed stranded motorists to come inside to warm up and use the facilities. Fiocco said that many were not dressed for the weather, so she raided FlyLeaf’s lost-and-found for coats and hats. They even handed out Magic Sock samples for kids to use as gloves.
In addition to the newspaper mention, many customers continue to send their thanks. “I’ve had friends of friends send me notes. I’ve even had some of the lost-and-found items returned,” says Fiocco. “But that’s what local, independent businesses do. We’re part of the community. We look out for one another. Other businesses would have done the same thing. We happened to be in the perfect spot.”