At Nielson’s Building Center in Point Roberts, Wash., a belt sander is used for so much more than sanding.
It’s the star of the company’s belt sander drag races, an event that’s become well-known throughout the community.
In June, staff at Nielson’s held the racing event in conjunction with the store’s 50th anniversary celebration. There were more than 20 entries in the double-elimination tournament, which included prizes for race winners, oldest and youngest participants and the best-decorated sander.
“We did this for the first time back in 1989 as part of a customer appreciation party,” store owner Lorne Nielson says. “It became a big success, and we’ve done it 20-plus times over the years.”
Local businesses donate prizes, he says, and get in on the fun, too. “We have two banks in Point Roberts, so we included a competition between the two banks and their sanders. It’s a friendly competition.”
Nielson set up a 30-foot track for the race and provided the power for the sanders to race. “It’s pretty simple—sanders race two at a time and zip down the track. Whoever crosses the finish line first wins. Since it is double elimination, everyone gets to race at least twice.”
Thinking a belt sander race would work in your store? Make sure you have all the equipment you need in advance, including a track and power source. Think about asking other local businesses to donate prizes or sponsor the race. You can even offer a few in-store demonstrations in the weeks leading up to the event as a way to promote it and encourage interest among your customers.