“Where are those damn coupon books?” asked a local merchant* during our phone conversation this past Thursday. She was referring to the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce-sponsored coupon books in which this merchant bought ad space. These books were to be distributed at the Quiksilver Pro early this September. Sprinkle them all over Long Beach during the Quiksilver Pro and you have thousands of potential customers. It sounded like a win-win to me, but wasn’t, since these books were allegedly nowhere to be found.
Let’s start this from the beginning:
This matter was brought to my attention when I asked Quiksilver to design a long Beach-themed shirt for next year’s event. Mark Tannenbaum, Executive Vice President of the Long Beach Chamber Of Commerce got involved with the discussion by writing: “If you want LB shirts contact the chamber of commerce to get that done.” ALS, a local merchant in Long Beach, balked at that idea:
”Go to the Chamber of Commerce to get that done? Are you kidding? It is actually the Chamber that disappointed me the most in the Quiksilver event. The Chamber went door-to-door promoting a coupon book to businesses that they would be responsible for circulating at the various surf events and at the Allegria…..
Did anyone ever see this booklet? I attended several of the events…never saw a booklet.”
Coupon books? As a writer for this blog, I look for anything I can get my hands on. I was at the Quiksilver Pro almost everyday and I didn’t see any of these so-called coupon books. I contacted ALS on the phone to hear what she had to say:
“They (The Chamber of Commerce) asked us to pay $325.00 for a one-sided ad which was going to be printed in 30,000 books. 5,000 were supposed to be distributed at the (LIRR) train station, while the other 25,000 at the Quicksilver Pro event, but they were nowhere to be found. Where are those damn coupon books?….Nobody knows where they ended up.”
When asked if any customers came to her store with a coupon from the book she said, “No, how could they? Nobody had them.” Adding to the fire, another LB retailer contacted me with this little tidbit:
“25,000 books were delivered to the Chamber….but they refused to receive them and told the deliverer to bring them to the surf site.”
So these books were printed, but somehow got lost between the Chamber of Commerce and the Quiksilver Pro site? Scavenger hunt on National Blvd anybody?
I contacted the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce and got to speak with their President Michael J. Kerr. After telling Mr. Kerr about the missing books and merchant frustration, he said, “The Herald won the bid to print the coupon books. 1,000 were to be sent to the Chamber of Commerce, 5,000 to the Long Beach & Jamaica train stations and the remainder were going to the Allegria Hotel to be distributed by Quiksilver, which was under an agreement with them. They were delivered to the hotel…..We had an agreement and we were acting as co-sponsors or like agents. We anticipated a lot more people, but with the festivals being cancelled last minute, we were in a bind.”
Ok, so now it’s the Allegria’s fault?
When told about Mr. Kerr’s remarks, ALS said, “They’re (The Chamber) the ones that solicited us; walking door-to-door to every store here. Why would it be Quiksilver or the Allegria’s responsibility to distribute them?” Well, she does have a point. I know nothing about this distribution agreement, but The Allegria and Quiksilver had enough on their hands that week. Even if such agreement was in place, the Chamber should have followed up on behalf of the merchants and made sure they were distributed properly.
I could call up Quiksilver & The Allegria and continue this game of cat & mouse, but I won’t. I’m just a person that writes for a blog and not an investigative reporter. It’s unfortunate when a merchant such as ALS invests into a program only to get nothing in return. It’s also a shame that the festivals were cancelled and that the amount of people the Chamber of Commerce expected didn’t materialize. Let’s just hope the Quiksilver pro goes as planned next year and the last-minute chaos of this year goes away. But will there one in Long Beach next year?
I asked Mr. Kerr about the general feeling amongst posters on this blog how [Chamber Executive VP] Mark Tennanbaum’s public comments might be scaring Quiksilver away from hosting in Long Beach again. Mr Kerr said, “Mark spoke out of frustration, even at the last City Council Meeting. His best interests are with the merchants. We are all disappointed with the canceling of the festivals. We have no control of the weather [Hurricane Irene] and the city council has their reasons. It is what it is……We are currently in talks with Quicksilver about them coming back and we hope they do.” Well, whether you like them or not, at least the Chamber of Commerce indeed wants the Quiksilver Pro back in Long Beach.
Going back to the coupon books: If anybody knows of their whereabouts or actually received one, please let us know how you got it and where.
*The merchants that I spoke to wanted their identity revealed. It was my decision to keep them anonymous. I support our local merchants and don’t want anything said in this article to jeopardize their businesses. I will attest that they are actual merchants in long Beach.