Community Bank Branch Increases Customer Base with Mint Box Promotion

Challenge: The Bank of Newport is a small bank branch that serves the southeastern area of New England. They were established in 1819 and have only 12 bank locations, mostly in Rhode Island. Their challenge over the past years has been to secure more local customers to their community bank by recruiting them away from the large bank branches that have permeated the area. The Bank of Newport wanted an economical promotional gift because they do not have the vast budget of their competitors. They also wanted the product to be useful and endearing to the residents of the area, demonstrating to them that they actually care about the community. The bank has always prided itself on their community efforts and help sponsor numerous events throughout the year. The gift was to be given away at the Newport Bank booth at several of these community festivals during the spring/summer months. Newport contacted their promotional product distributor to find a product that fit the needs of the bank.

Solution: The promotional products team decided that Newport needed a product with resale value and that the product had to prove to the patrons of these neighborhood events that Newport cared about them, unlike the other larger banks in the area. Eventually, the team presented Newport with the advertising mint box. The mint box contains 20-25 peppermints, is recloseable, and is fully customizable on all 5 sides of the box. The mint box offers more advertising space than most products and is printed with 4-color process printed. A box of mints like this is often purchased in the store for over $1.

Result: The mint box promotion was distributed at the Newport booths at several sponsored events through the spring and summer. The advertising box was useful and compact enough to be placed in purses and pockets. This way the potential customer would remember the company name and logo days after the event. After the promotion, the Bank of Newport received many compliments on the product and requests for more by the community. More importantly, the bank saw a 10% increase of new customers in the fall.

If you would like to view more products like this or other advertising candy related promotions, visit us at

Did you know that CEShoppes has 2 Different Corporate Gift Blogs?

Just like we have many different corporate gift websites that cater to niche markets, we also have blogs that do the same. If you are in to cooking and great food, you will want to check out our Gourmet Food Gift People Blog – featuring “Cooking with Tristan”. Tristan is our 14 year old son who loves to cook and bring you new recipes a few times a month. His latest episode was about “How to Make Smoked BBQ Ribs,” and they were absolutely delicious! He has quite a few more recipes up his sleeve and more that are now playing on our YouTube/Gourmet Food Gifts Channel. For the best of both worlds, check out his recipe pages, that explain each recipe,  notes about what he might not have mentioned as he was making the meal on video and any other little tips or hints – you can also watch the video right from the recipes page.

The Gourmet Food Gifts blog also has the latest in business food gift ideas, and new product launches for the holiday season.  Check it out today!

Business Holiday Food Gift Ideas from CEShoppes

Every year just before the holiday season, we have customers ask us how they can get their business clients excited about the gifts they send out, as a thank you for their continued business.  If you are getting lackluster results with your holiday gift selections here is an idea that you should consider.

One of the best gifts you can send to your clients at the holidays is a food gift. You should plan on purchasing the very best tasting items that are made when ordered, and have not been sitting on the shelf for months at a time.  What many people don’t realize is that the food items you find at the membership clubs and big box stores have been sitting on a warehouse shelf for 6-7 months before you purchase them. If this is how you have done your holiday shopping for the past few holiday seasons, your customers and employees will be surprised when you present them with fresh – made when ordered, food gifts.

The exciting thing about corporate chocolate gifts is that they can be molded and engraved just like fine crystal.  You can even add not only your logo to the chocolate, but in many cases you can add chocolate industry theme designs to the chocolate assortments, creating that WOW effect you have been looking  to achieve.  Recipients are wowed by the intricacy and level of detail, and often rush to show their gift to others in the office, saying, ‘This is too beautiful to eat’. Eventually they do eat the chocolate, and break into the rich taste of great milk or dark chocolate. Most importantly, they’ll remember the message and who gave it to them.

Other food gift ideas are show on our website. We have even added steaks, chicken dinners and fresh live Maine Lobster to our offerings at the request of customers who wish to have more than chocolates and cookies to send this holiday season.

If this information was of interest to you, and would like to see the video that accompanies this article visit
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Fresh from the Beach – The Gift Book

I am slightly refreshed from a whirlwind weekend away at the beach. I sat in the sun too long and my face is now totally red and peeling which is not normal for me. I am olive skinned and normally do not burn. Anyway, the trip energized me and this week we have been working on our mailings and getting all the holiday gift items up on the websites.


We did hire a few people from Odesk to work on the websites and I must say things are moving right along. In one week we had 3 databases created and updated. It’s exciting to see all the new products coming in. It’s a lot like Christmas when the catalogs start arriving with all the new fall and winter holiday business gift ideas. We love to see the new products and we love to hear when our customers get excited about getting their RED Books. This is really called the The GIFT BOOK, but to our customers, because of the faux red leather cover and the gold imprint it is the “RED Book” and the most exciting book of the year. All I can equate this too is the excitement children feel when they get the toy catalogs from Toys R Us, just before a visit to Santa.  By the end of this month, we will be getting calls with squeals of delight!

Using Food As A Coupon for Discount or Give-Away

Did you know that there are tons of case histories (stories about how others use a product or do a service) that you can use to your advantage? Recently, I was looking through some of our supplier catalogs and came across some very good ideas. Just to give you an idea of some of the case histories that are out there, and please feel free to use this information to your advantage, I am going to give you a couple of ideas over the next few weeks. We also have an Idea Store that is filled with ideas that you can R & D to your hearts content.  Here is an example:

A Sporting goods franchise wanted to create a promotion with wrapper bars (Chocolate candy bars with an imprint on the inside and outside of the wrapper). Our factory produced 10,000 chocolate bars and sent 500 to each of the Sporting goods store locations. The inside of 497 wrappers contained coupons for 5% off a purchase, two wrapper bars had a coupon for 10% off, and one wrapper bar had a coupon for 20% off. The Sporting goods distributor advertised that all customers that came in during this promotion would not only receive a chocolate bar but, inside was a valuable coupon for a discount on any Houseware purchase. Each individual store indicated that they were much busier than usual and reported higher sales during the promotion than the same time the previous year. The sporting goods franchise plans to do this every year.

A computer company advertised that they were going to be giving away chocolate bars at their trade show booth. If that in itself was not enough to get people to the booth the advertisement indicated that inside one of the wrapper bars was a winning ticket for a free computer. The customer reported much higher traffic at his booth than previous years and he had 30% more qualified leads than the previous year. – This can also be done with custom fortune cookies if you do not want to give away chocolate. –

Restaurants can use this same concept for free food give aways, Salons can use it to give discounts on services or free services, almost any business with walk-in traffic can utilize this same type of promotion.

Controlling Quality of Products on our Websites

Periodically we receive calls from suppliers asking us to put their items on our websites. We usually tell them that they need to be a member of our industry, and then if they are we will order a sample item from them to see how the item is packaged and the quality of the imprint, or if their company has food related items, we taste the items to make sure they are up to our standards before thinking about adding them to our website.

Recently, we were approached by an industry food company that wanted to add their gift baskets and imprinted cookie tins to our websites.  We looked through their catalog and decided on a holiday sleigh filled with brownies, cookies and Ghirardelli chocolate squares as the sample piece. We called to order the sample and we were told that the boss was the only one who could take an order and the person who answered the phone said she wasn’t sure if her boss would be back in later that day or the next day. This should have been our first warning of what was to come.

The next day, the owner of the company called and I answered the phone and gave her our sample order. I also asked her about the strange conversation from the day before, knowing full well that during the peak holiday season we needed a reliable company that could handle a large volume of business. I also asked her about how her items were packaged, as we are used to working with Maple Ridge Farms and their items are packaged so that a truck can roll over them and they still arrive looking perfect! She assured me that they package as well as Maple Ridge, so I gave her our company UPS number and agreed to 2nd day air shipping.

Two days later a huge, oversized box arrived. It was filled with those horrible foam peanuts, and in the middle was a large bundle of bubble wrap and tape. We had to cut through the tape and the bubble wrap to find the sleigh inside. I believe because I had mentioned my concern for how the items were packaged, the company decided to package it in the oversized box and wrap the sleigh many times with bubble wrap to prevent the cookies from breaking. However, this oversized box filled with stale cookies and homemade brownies wrapped in plastic wrap with no FDA required ingredient labels, cost us $121 for the 2nd day air shipping!! You can imagine my relief that we have the rule to view and taste all products of this nature BEFORE we put them on our websites to sell to our customers!

I did speak with the owner of the company today and expressed my dissatisfaction with the presentation and taste of the items. She said they will be crediting me the price of the basket. I am just glad that our research saved us before we sold an unsuspecting customer 20 or 30 of these cookie and brownie baskets and had them shipped 2nd day air all over the country to the customers’ recipients. Can you imagine the shipping bill, not to mention the ill will my customer would have received when the recipient received such a poor quality gift? Not to mention if someone got sick from eating a product without labeling that states that the products were made in a kitchen where peanuts may also be used in other products.

I think for now we will stay with our tried and true factories, where we know we receive good service, on time ship dates and a great tasting product and presentation.