For more than three decades, shop owners in Jim Thorpe have been thanking patrons by offering special discounts.
It’s a phrase that makes us feel good. To make one feel appreciated is to humanize them; it’s to show our gratitude for another person's good will despite the human condition – often being a selfish one. We teach children to say thank you when someone has done something kind and, just as notably, we teach them it’s unacceptable to forgo using the phrase when appreciation is due.
For more than three decades, shop owners in Jim Thorpe have been thanking patrons by celebrating “customer appreciation day”.
“This is a day for the local townspeople” says Tom Lux, Owner of the Mauch Chunk 5 and 10 store on Broadway. “We understand that they put up with a lot with the traffic and parking problems, and this really is just something we can do to acknowledge that, and to thank them”.
Typically celebrated in early November, Customer Appreciation Day is a chance for business owners to join in the choir of “Thanks Yous” by offering discounts on their goods. The event was birthed in honor of courthouse workers who eat and shop downtown through the bleak off season, yet struggle to arrive on time for work during peak months due to lines of tourist vehicles and sub-par infrastructure to handle the traffic. This year, the shopping spree will happen Friday November 18th. The second Friday in November (11/11) is Veterans Day, and county workers are off duty. Organizers moved Customer Appreciation Day in hopes courthouse workers will find it more convenient to take advantage of the deals.
Being thanked? It feels good, right? People like to feel valued, and to be appreciated.
“It used to be one of our biggest revenue days of the year,” said Lux.
Owning a storefront in Jim Thorpe can be a balancing act: Turning profits off tourist dollars, while sympathizing with friends and family inconvenienced by crowds.
“I will do anything I can to lessen the burden on the people of Jim Thorpe from the influx of tourists,” says Trish Spillman. Owner of the Jim Thorpe House of Jerky.
Nowadays she gets ready for customer appreciation day by making baskets of artisanal jerky adorned with ribbon and intended for holiday gifting. However, before she bought her business in 2016, Spillman geared up for Customer Appreciation Day by coordinating with her girlfriends about where to meet for dinner and a drink before browsing on broadway.
“We’d go early to make sure we got a parking spot downtown, and we’d hit everything that was open. We always like the Gem Shop and the 5 and 10”.
Now that she’s behind the register, her fond memories of girls night out encourage her to give deeper discounts to other shoppers.
“It was just a good night of shopping and dinner and drinks[...] I feel like I have to step up. Everything is full circle”.
Neither Lux nor Spillman know what to anticipate in terms of turnout for the upcoming edition of Customer Appreciation Day. Despite its veteran history in town, Customer Appreciation Day wasn’t observed in 2021.
“It didn’t seem responsible with the pandemic to try to draw crowds, and especially indoors,” Lux said.
Organizers say local shop owners also had difficulty getting supplies due to Covid related shortages.
Barren storefronts on main streets across small town America seem to be a sign of the times: post pandemic shut-downs, and with amazon promising next day delivery for just about anything on your holiday list, grocery list, and your late night retail therapy list; it’s been tough on mom and pop.
Jim Thorpe isn’t in that disintegrating boat. Here, the windows are still full of mannequins, high top tables, and seasonal decorations. While it’s not to say things have been effortless for the entrepreneurs, there’s a lot to be grateful for. As Customer Appreciation makes its grand re-entrance in a couple of weeks, it seems there’s a lot today to “Thank You” for.
“Places that weren’t even around last time we had the event are participating, and able to offer a discount, which is really great” Spillman said. Newcomers to Customer Appreciation include Wild Elder Wine and Cider Company, and Nomad Distillery.
As the calendar rounds the corner to holiday shopping season, ignore the pop-up advertisement on your phone, and make use of the “save for later” feature in your amazon cart. Start this year with dinner and drinks, with brick and mortar, and by feeling valued and appreciated.