(Franklin, Tenn.)—After a career in the financial services industry spanning 25 years, Franklin resident Jim Payne is optimistic about turning over a new leaf at 50 years old. This month Payne is bringing the first Welcomemat Services concept to Tennessee. The marketing and technology strategies company provides direct-mail gift checks specifically to new residents to help them get acclimated to their neighborhood.
Payne’s desire to be a small business owner was ignited while he was working on his MBA at Vanderbilt University more than 10 years ago. However, it wasn’t until he was downsized in February from his position as a client relationship manager at a regional bank that he saw the opportunity to pursue his passion.
“I’m very excited to be starting this new phase of my professional life,” said Payne. “For the past 10 years I have considered branching out on my own and I truly believe leaving the bank was the best thing that could have happened to me. Welcomemat has provided an excellent opportunity to start fresh. I look forward to serving my community in a new way outside of the banking world.”
Welcomemat helps the local community on two levels. First, it helps small business owners steadily build a stream of fresh loyal customers, ultimately growing the business and helping the local economy. Second, it helps individuals and families get acclimated to their new environment by helping them build loyal relationships with high-quality local businesses. Payne’s location services Franklin, South Nashville, Green Hills, Brentwood and Spring Hill. As president of the board of directors for Franktown Open Hearts, a local ministry that aims to help inner-city youth, Payne is already deeply rooted in community initiatives and views the Welcomemat concept as another way to get involved.
Welcomemat works by sending personalized packages of gift certificates to new residents that they can use at local businesses. Targeting the new resident segment and providing them with the services and products to fill their daily needs helps drive an influx of new repeat customers to local shops and businesses. Patented technology enables new resident information to be bar-coded onto every certificate, allowing local businesses to receive free, customized tracking and information reports regarding their offers. After a customer uses a gift certificate, the business returns it to Welcomemat. The bar code is scanned and the resulting information is provided back to the business in an easy-to-read data sheet profiling the client’s new customers and providing demographics such as the customer’s name, gender and income level. Welcomemat uses data from more than 35 sources to locate newcomer addresses.
New residents receive their Welcomemat package within 30 to 90 days of moving in, depending upon how quickly the consumer changes their address information. Offers include such things as free dry cleaning, complimentary haircuts or free car washes sent to thousands of new families in various communities each year.
Welcomemat began franchising in 2010 after receiving nearly $2 million in capital investment from private investors. Welcomemat has nine franchised locations as well as corporate-operated offices in Atlanta, Charlotte and Greenville, S.C. Projections call for the opening of 12 franchise locations in 2012 toward a goal of opening 200 locations during the next five years in high-profile, transient markets across the country.