Gift cards are BIG business!

Here is some good news for the people of the Atlanta area who we're bemoaning the auction of assets of Pike Nurseries. It looks like 400 of the 700 employees will keep their jobs as the stores change hands, but stay open.

Here is the part that really opened my eyes. You have heard how retail just loves gift cards. Supposedly we are excited because a certain percentage of people never redeem them. They get lost, stolen, or just forgot about, so the store never has to redeem them. Well its nice to hear that Armstrong Nurseries, the California nursery chain that bought many of the stores will honor the outstanding gift cards from the former Pike Nursery. There are over $800,000 of outstanding gift cards that will be honored.

$800,000! I found this number absolutely amazing! This now gives us a better idea of why gift cards are so popular. It's a credit to the new owners that they will honor these cards. Actually thats really the only thing they could do. Imagine how upset the future potential customers of the new Pike Nurseries would be to be told they cards are worthless. This will help bring those customers back into the stores so they can get a taste of the new operations. I have heard about situations like this where the retailer will not honor the cards. After all its money that was collected by the former owners, and now merchandise from the new owners will be used to honor these cards.

The bottom line is its a good business decision since we are trying to build relationships, not fret over whether to honor a $25 gift card transaction. I want people to redeem the gift cards. I don't see any benefit to selling the card only to never have it redeemed. Quite often these cards are given to people who haven't been in the nursery before, and its a way to introduce ourselves to them.