It was the night before Capitol Lighting’s first Light Lunch Food Truck Event, and company President Eric Lebersfeld fell asleep wishing for sunny skies ahead. The following afternoon, American Lighting’s Mobile LED Light Lab and several area food trucks would set up shop in the parking lot of Capitol’s Boca Raton, FL, store for the retailer’s first lunch-and-learn event, and the forecast called for showers.
“I try never to be nervous or worry, Lebersfeld says. “They’re both terrible wastes of energy. I was [just] hoping it wasn’t going to rain.”
It did rain. But despite the damp weather, the trucks arrived as scheduled, and folks began to trickle in. It wasn’t long before the store parking lot was buzzing with activity.
Designed as a promotional event to generate publicity, boost sales and engage customers as well as store employees, the idea for the Light Lunch event came from discussions with manufacturer partners about creative ways to bolster the store’s bottom line.
“We wanted to do something different, something fun and social to help us attract customers and engage our employees,” Lebersfeld says. “Inviting the food trucks seemed like a great idea. And we knew anything food-related would draw people in.”
Capitol seems to be on the right track. Nearly 50 customers attended the inaugural event in March, which featured three local food trucks and American Lighting’s MLab — a mobile lighting showroom featuring cutting-edge LED products and undercabinet lighting. A second food truck event, held in May at the Boca Raton store, served as the launch of Capitol’s ceiling fan sales promotion, Fandemonium, and attracted even more of a crowd.
Now, with several successful events under its belt — Capitol held its most recent Light Lunch in June at its store in Eatontown, NJ — Lebersfeld and his team continue to fine-tune the concept as they go.
“We learn something with each event, whether it’s inviting a major on-air radio personality to do live spots from the event, planning as far in advance as possible or making sure the whole team is clear on our goals and the ways we’re promoting the event,” Lebersfeld says. “And no matter what, you have to roll with the punches.”
The feedback Capitol has received on its Light Lunch food truck events has been overwhelmingly positive, and the retailer plans on doing more of them in the future.
“It’s a great way to bring people together,” Lebersfeld says. “The excitement of pulling off an event like this engages our employees, and customers love [that we’re doing] something new and different, Lebersfeld says. “[It helps that] the food is great, too.”