It’s said that laughter is the best medicine. For Delmark Tire Service, laughter is great for business.
Jason Horstman is the man behind the humorous signs at Delmark Tire Service, 1700 Frederick Ave. It started during the government shut down in 2013, poking fun at such a serious topic. People liked it, so he kept it going.
“We’ve got in to this sense of everything has to be now, because of the Internet and technology,” said Mr. Horstman, operations manager at Delmark. “It’s hard to get somebody’s attention. But if you can make them laugh or catch their attention in some obscure way, it goes in the back of their mind and it stays.”
He often makes business cards and takes them to places around the community. The cards offer not only a deal on a service at the station but a game, a gag or a giveaway.
One card had a picture of a rabbit and on the back a message: “If you can guess the name of a famous Pooka, you get your tires rotated for free.” It was a play on the James Stewart movie.
“People were coming in and just saying ‘Harvey,’” Mr. Horstman said. “They got the gag. It was something like ... audience participation. Just to get people excited.”
On peanut butter and jelly day, customers could stop in for an oil change and a sandwich.
Mr. Horstman said a foreman stopped in to take advantage of the special. He went back to the job site. Subsequently, seven more guys wondered in and out that day, just to stop in for a sandwich and an inexpensive oil change.
“It works,” he said.
There’s also been lucky penny day, free apples on Johnny Appleseed Day and trail mix on Hit the Trails Day.
Many of the signs have been tied to an obvious holiday, but if it’s something unique and funny Mr. Hortsman said he will stretch it out through the entire week.
While he comes up with most of his own ideas, there is plenty of inspiration online.
Others just drive by, see the sign and stop to take a picture. Of those people, Mr. Hortsman said a few will come in to the business.
“It’s increased business,” he said. “Got a lot of new faces in. That’s really what I was doing it for is to get some new faces in and get people to come Downtown.”
Mr. Horstman’s father, Mark Horstman, has owned the business since 1985 but managed the shop since 1979. It was previously General Tire Service.