Shopsmith Inc., a $43-million Dayton manufacturer of woodworking equipment, may just have found the solution to the age-old problem of finding good employees who are knowledgeable about its products.
If a position opens up at one of its retail outlets or when it needs to hire staff for a new-store launch -- the company has opened one store a month over the past three years -- Shopsmith sends letters and postcards to local customers announcing it is looking for managers and part-time help.
The average direct-mail campaign to 3,000 customers costs at least 30% less than a classified ad in a local newspaper. It's been so successful that Shopsmith has stopped using classified ads altogether in some markets.
"It's the rifle versus the shotgun approach," as advertising director Perry Martin puts it. He reports that Shopsmith has found virtually all its part-time woodworkers and a handful of managers through the two-year-old campaign. For Shopsmith's loyal customers who sign on, says Martin, "it's their dream job."