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Turkey Bucks Make Thanksgiving Fun at Susanville IGA

Author: Rick Stewart

The Independent View

    Rick Stewart

IGA Best Practices Perspective


November 9, 2011

IGA retailers across America are getting ready for Thanksgiving shoppers with home-grown marketing ideas that build holiday sales and keep their shoppers coming back year after year. Today, Rick Stewart shares his tried-and-true method for securing sales and rewarding loyal shoppers.

About 15 years ago I remember watching the chain stores get ready for Thanksgiving by trying to beat each other on turkey prices. As an independent operator in a small town, that put us in a pretty tough position. Sure, we wanted our share of Thanksgiving turkey sales, but how could we compete? Even if we were willing and able to take the hit on the cost, trying to forecast movement is really difficult. Should we have a 40-foot trailer sitting at the back door filled with frozen turkeys? And if we do—and the chain store down the street still manages to beat us on price—what do we do with all those left over turkeys?

We wrestled with that for a while, and then we came up with an idea for Turkey Bucks. Over the years the process has changed a bit, but the principle is still the same. About three weeks before Thanksgiving we start rewarding our everyday shoppers with one turkey buck for every $25 they purchase. Then when the Thanksgiving ad breaks, our shoppers can apply their Turkey Bucks toward the cost of the turkey of their choice.

Turkey Buck

Every year the response is absolutely phenomenal, and in most cases, people have enough Turkey Bucks to buy any turkey they want. So for the past 15 years, when the chains around us start touting their low-priced turkeys, we've had a pretty powerful answer: "Earn a free turkey at Susanville Supermarket IGA."

Turkey Bucks are great for our shoppers, but they're also really great for us. They get shoppers into the store in the weeks prior to our Thanksgiving Day ad breaking, they help us show our loyal shoppers that we appreciate their business, and we get to have some fun with them. This year, for example, we ran a contest on Facebook to see which of our employees would be featured on our Turkey Bucks. It got our online community involved and excited about the promotion well in advance of the start date.

Any way you look at it, Turkey Bucks are a big win for our business.


Rick Stewart
Susanville Supermarket IGA
Susanville, CA
LDC: C & S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. - California Division