G&R FELPAUSCH NURTURING BABY CLUBS

HASTINGS, Mich. -- G&R Felpausch Co. here has introduced a baby club in two of its stores and expects to roll it out chainwide next year.The centerpiece of the program, launched two weeks ago, is a personalized commemorative book that new parents receive, free of charge, after they bring the newborn home. Members also receive a $10 gift certificate for every $100 of baby-related purchases, according

HASTINGS, Mich. -- G&R Felpausch Co. here has introduced a baby club in two of its stores and expects to roll it out chainwide next year.

The centerpiece of the program, launched two weeks ago, is a personalized commemorative book that new parents receive, free of charge, after they bring the newborn home. Members also receive a $10 gift certificate for every $100 of baby-related purchases, according to Bill Felpausch, vice president of sales and marketing. The gift certificate may be applied to any item in the store.

Felpausch said that the Baby Club was instituted because the chain wants to reach younger shoppers.

In preparation for the program launch, over the last eight months the 20-unit retailer has been giving away the commemorative books in the two stores, which are located in Jackson and Coldwater, Mich. The book is personalized with the child's name, as well as the names of his or her parents and immediate and extended family (including pets), the family doctor, and other relevant details about the birth. Printed on the inside cover page is, "Compliments of G&R Felpausch."

Also, the retailer has partnered with local hospitals so that baby club registration forms can be distributed to new parents.

Once a person registers, he or she also receives coupons from various baby manufacturers and an application for the store's Priority Club shoppers' card.

In other baby news, Felpausch plans to expand its Stork Parking, special parking for customers who are pregnant or new parents. Two spaces are reserved for expectant and new moms.

The reserved parking has been in effect for about six months and will be rolled out to the other stores beginning next year.

"The reception has been very good, because it sends a silent message. People who are not pregnant like it too and think, 'That's a nice thing to do,' " Felpausch said.