Thompson Furniture: A Few Good Eggs That Can’t Be Beat

Spencer Thompson (center) surrounded by the Egg Fest judges.

Hosting the bi-annual Hoosier Egg Fest brings a multitude of benefits

By Andy Kriege, YSN

“Tip of the Hat” is a feature that recognizes those who go above and beyond to make the world a better place. If you have a suggestion for a person or a company that is doing something positive in our industry, please let us know at Communications@AVB.net.

Thompson Furniture & Mattress has concocted a tasty way to pull their community together and raise a ton of money for two local charities in the process.

The family business is a fixture in Columbus, Ind., having sold furniture out of the same corner location since 1927. For the past four years the BrandSource member has sponsored and hosted the Hoosier Egg Fest in the parking lot of its store. The competitive cookoff features 20 teams that pay a sponsorship fee to compete for the best-tasing entrée prepared on a Big Green Egg.

Attendees get to sample food prepared by the contending teams on “The Egg,” as the slow cooking kamado grill is commonly called. Each annual festival features a unique assortment of delectable creations including specialty meats, seafood, pizza, soups, and desserts.

Two winning teams are chosen, based on which served the best food and which raised the most funds. A tip jar placed in front of each cook station helps determines the outcome.

As store owner Spencer Thompson explained, “If a patron enjoys the food, they can tip the chef a dollar, ten dollars or whatever they wish. At the end of the event, the featured charity counts all the money in the tip jars and declares a winner based on who raised the most in tips.”

Both winning teams are awarded a new Big Green Egg as a prize. In some years, though, the team that was judged to have the best food also raised the most money and took home two prizes.

“It’s a great way to take a product that we sell, get people to come to our location, and have them meet all of us and see all the fine products we sell,” Thompson said. On average the event draws between 350 and 450 people, he noted, rain or shine.

The Egg Fest is held twice a year, before Father’s Day and around Halloween, each benefitting a separate local charity. The proceeds from the summer events go to The Columbus Fireman’s Cheer Fund, which provides toys and cash for kids at Christmastime, who would otherwise not have much to celebrate.

The fall events aid The Turning Point Domestic Violence Services Center, which assists victims of domestic violence and raises awareness within the community. This year’s fall food festival was held on Oct. 30 under the theme “Start the Grill, Stop the Violence,” with Turning Point receiving 100 percent of the proceeds.

Together the two events raise about $40,000 annually for the organizations.

Although the contests impact sales activity for the day, Thompson believes the good will, store and brand promotion, and community awareness that the events generate make up for any lost revenue in spades.

“While sales dip on the day of the events, we do feel it is a tremendous benefit to the business to host them,” Thompson said. “These events draw in 900 or so people to our business every year that may never find us otherwise. They hang out for three hours, drink some beer, enjoy some fantastic food, and have a great time for a great cause at our store. It’s great exposure for sure.”

As an added charitable incentive, and a way to draw festival goers into the store, Thompson conducts a silent auction on select items from his assortment, which includes a full line of furniture, mattresses, and a range of outdoor products including the Big Green Egg. The auctions add a significant oomph to the fundraising totals, and are particularly popular during bad weather, when people congregate inside the store to assess the items donated by Thompson and other local businesses.

YSN gives a Tip of the Hat to the good folks at Thompson Furniture for bringing their community together and supporting two great causes while promoting their own. Well done Spencer, we are proud that you’re a part of the BrandSource family!

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, furniture, mattress, and CE dealers.