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Saved For A Rainy Day

Serving customers when they need it most

Many companies pay lip service to building customer relationships, but Framingham, Massachusetts-based Staples put its money where its mouth is. After Hurricane Floyd hit the East Coast with a vengeance last autumn, the office supply super-retailer mailed out $50 Emergency Gift Certificates to catalog customers in areas devastated by the storm.

The emergency gift certificates were valid for purchase of goods at any Staples store, as well as through the company's Web site or catalog.

Certificates hit customers' desks within 10 days after the storm, helping them get back to business quickly. You can bet OfficeMax won't be seeing those folks any time soon . . .

Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associates, a public relations and marketing communications agency in Ocean, New Jersey. She is currently completing a marketing workbook titled Promote Your Business. E-mail her at

Contact Sources

Staples, (508) 253-5000,

This story appears in the March 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »