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Sweet Reward

Reaching out to the media really does pay off.

By April Y. Pennington

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Fran Bigelow opened Fran'sChocolates Ltd. in 1982, the Seattle store was in an area notyet bustling with retail business. Using exclusive chocolates fromaround the world to create desserts and European-style chocolates,Bigelow offered a superior product but lacked the advertisingbudget to show the difference. So she relied on editorialcoverage--and the power of taste--to spread the word.

Targeting the food editors for two Seattle newspapers, Bigelowsent letters educating them on the fine chocolates she uses andincluded samples. Within two weeks, both papers published storieson her shop. "All of a sudden, people knew what I wasdoing," says Bigelow, 59. She still remembers her surprisewhen she saw the line wrapping around her building the day afterone story ran: "People do read the newspaper!"

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