MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP, Michigan — Frei Chevrolet is being a dear to the deer.
The dealership is donating 1,300 pounds of corn to U.P. Whitetails, a volunteer organization in Michigan's Upper Peninsula sponsoring hunter safety, habitat improvements and white-tailed deer awareness.
They will use it to feed the deer during the area's harsh winter in hopes of rebuilding the area's depleted deer population.
The corn is what remains of Frei Chevrolet's most successful promotion ever, Frei President Jim Grundstrom told Edmunds.
To coincide with bow-hunting season beginning in October, the dealership gave anyone who came into the showroom to take a test drive a 100-pound bag of corn to use as bait for deer hunting.
Hunting is such a popular pastime in the Upper Peninsula that many schools and employers shut down on opening day.
In less than a month, they distributed 25,000 pounds of it brought in from Wisconsin on a semi-trailer, mostly with hunters taking the Chevrolet Silverado for a spin.
Grundstrom ordered a second trailer full, this time with 50-pound bags to make it easier to move the corn around. Rifle season began November 15 and more potential car shoppers would be hunting.
"We had an exemplary fourth quarter and the corn played into that," Grundstrom said.
Grundstrom estimates he sold 300 cars that were directly as a result of the corn giveaway.
"We piled the corn in our showroom and people would come over and talk about the bags," he said. "It was a great conversation starter and then we would segue into talking about their driving needs," making those hunters more relaxed.
"There was one guy from our community that came in for the corn, ended up buying a truck and forgot to take his corn and came back just for it," Grundstrom said. "It was definitely a popular promotion."
Edmunds says: No promotion is too corny in the right geographic region.