Our friendship began two years ago when one of Charleston Friends of the Library board members bought her first Subaru at Crews Subaru. Everything went smoothly and one of the nice surprises was seeing how many local charities and non-profits the local dealership supported. What a public-spirited organization, she thought and then drove her Subaru home.
Flash forward a couple of years – the Subaru is still driving like a champ, but COVID-19 turned the community upside down, including the efforts of the Charleston Friends of the Library to run book sales which generate essential revenue that funded programs in the seventeen branches across the county. And to complicate our efforts even more, the Executive Director of the Friends, our only paid employee, resigned over the summer to return to teaching (what a trooper she is to go back to the classroom during these times). Nonetheless, the Friends were determined to continue supporting the Charleston County Public Library’s programs – whether the programs were virtual or in person. But how to raise the revenue to continue this support and regain our momentum? That’s when our board member remembered Crews Subaru’s community involvement and reached out to their “Marketing and Events Guy” (that’s his official title and we love it!). He immediately understood our predicament and offered to help us during this difficult period with one eye on building a successful long-term partnerships.
Charleston Friends of the Library fell in love with Crews Subaru and began brainstorming ways to work together. It’s been a real treat – and a blessing – to have Crews support as we figure out new ways to support library programs. This fall, we planned four small pop-up book sales in branches across the region. These events were a challenge as many people were still skeptical of going to even small gathering (the Friends actively promoted and followed best practices for all safety protocols). However, with thanks to the Marketing and Events Guy we received expert advice on marketing, help with local media outlets, and promotions through Crews’ vast social media network. This great media coverage has drawn much-needed customers – and revenue – to each sale.
In addition, Crews Subaru made a generous financial donation to underwrite our pop-up book sales to supplement our decreased revenue as we see that Subaru Loves Learning!
Our partnership with Crews Subaru is less than four months old but it’s growing in so many ways. With their guidance, we are building strong ties to our local media, to advertise our book sales. As a result, we are seeing new friends at each sale, and our revenue is growing—revenue we donate to the Charleston County Public Library. We are thrilled to see that despite the pandemic, people are coming out to support libraries and buy lots of books. Like everyone else, we are monitoring the health and economic landscapes closely. We don’t know what lies ahead in 2021, but we do know that our friends at Crews Subaru will continue to share their expertise and their support of learning and libraries. Crews Subaru is a wonderful example of a community partner working with other community partners to advance the health and vitality of the place we call home.