Sam's Club will mark its 25th anniversary this weekend by holding an open house — only the second time in its history it will allow anyone, including non-members, to shop in the warehouses and buy merchandise at member prices.
“The open house is designed to expose potential members to what we offer and the benefits that come with membership,” Susan Koehler, senior manager of corporate communications for Sam's, told SN.
The open house is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 18-20.
The only other open house was held in conjunction with the opening of Sam's 500th club in 2006, Koehler noted.
Next Monday marks the start of National Small Business Week, which will give Sam's the opportunity to emphasize its ties to small businesses by showing owners how they can save money by joining Sam's Club; it will also offer business owners the chance to win a $100,000 makeover.
Koehler said Sam's plans to tie in one of its invoice comparison challenges with the makeover offer by encouraging small businesses to bring in invoices for goods purchased from other suppliers, “so we can show them what they could have saved buying from Sam's.”
She cited the owner of six restaurants who took a previous challenge and found he could save $150,000 a year buying rice from Sam's.
Companies that participate in the challenge will be eligible to enter the contest to win the makeover, which includes up to $25,000 in cash, merchandise, supplies and equipment from Sam's, along with mentoring from SBTV.com (Small Business TV); a lifetime membership in the National Federation of Independent Business; and a trip to Washington, D.C., for the federation's National Small Business Summit in June.
The contest marks the first time Sam's is offering a prize of that sort, Koehler said.
In conjunction with the anniversary celebration, Sam's ads this week will list 25 reasons it pays to be a Sam's member. Among them:
- Enjoying food demos and leaving the club full.
- Finding the perfect gift for less than you saw it elsewhere.
- Breakfast on the house the day after Thanksgiving.
- A cake that serves 36-48 people for less than $20.
- Spending less on a car through the club's auto-buying service.
- A new road show every few weeks with unique merchandise.
- Saving big on vacations and cruises.
- Ordering ahead for pickup the next day.
- Books and magazines for less than the cover price.