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Store Promotes Project to Help Underprivileged Girls

When Gloria Martin stumbled across the website of a philanthropic organization that aims to provide dresses for underprivileged girls in different countries, she knew it was a cause she wanted to support.

“When I read about the organization, Dress a Girl Around the World, I knew I had to find out more,” she says. “I called and spoke with the president, and I fell in love with the idea. It’s a simple concept for a big need.”

The organization’s website offers instructions on how to make dresses from new, clean pillowcases. Martin, owner of Ace Hardware of Middlebury in Middlebury, Ind., set up a display in her store with these instructions, as well as examples of dresses in different colors and sizes.

“I set the display up on the front counter where it’s easy to see,” she says. “I have a display rack and have the information ready to go. I want to catch the customers’ attention right away. They’ve asked me about it and have really gotten involved.

“Some make the dresses from pillowcases, while others make them from fabric. I had one customer bring in 70 dresses she made.”

Martin, now the Indiana ambassador for the organization, has also worked with different local businesses, primarily fabric and craft stores, who have all helped promote the cause.

If you want to promote this fundraiser—or any other—in your store, try setting up an informational display to let customers know what it’s all about. Make sure you have information on hand so you can answer customers’ questions right away. If you offer the needed supplies—pillowcases or fabric, bias tape and elastic—in your store, let your customers know. Otherwise, try a cross-promotion with another local store. Chances are, if you send customers their way, they’ll do the same for you.

“It’s been catching on, and it’s been fun,” Martin says. “It’s great to see people who want to help.”

To learn more about this project, visit www.dressagirlaroundtheworld.com or contact Martin at 574-825-9146 or 574-849-5757.

About Liz Lichtenberger

Liz is the special projects editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and trends, visits retailers, and attends industry events. She graduated from Xavier University, where she earned a degree in English and Spanish and was a member of the swim team. Liz is a Louisville, Kentucky, native who lives in Indianapolis with her husband and two children. She enjoys swimming, reading, doing home improvement projects around her house and cheering on her two favorite basketball teams, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Xavier Musketeers.

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