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Stucki Jewelers honors Free If It Snows promotion

Staff Writer
Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

When the weather outside was frightful, some Stucki Jewelers found their wallets delightful with the refund of purchases made during the Free If It Snows promotion.

The promotion held that if there were a Doppler reading of at least an inch of snow in Grass Valley Christmas Day, any purchases made the three days after Thanksgiving and Dec. 14 and 15 would be refunded.

“We were hoping it would snow,” said Nicole Arbaugh, who co-owns Stucki her husband James. “We wanted to be able to do the refunds, since we pay for the insurance company, and customers and everyone were so excited.”

For some customers who received a refund, the promotion was a godsend.

“We figured we could give back to everybody if it snowed, and it would be better than any kind of sale.”

— James Arbaugh,
Stucki Jewelers owner

“My wife and I had some jewelry (and) a wedding and anniversary ring stolen in a break-in,” said Chris Shacoski, who purchased a new ring from Stucki Jewelers with his wife during the Free If it Snows offer. “We walked into Stucki and saw the promotion and thought it’d be a great story, so we found a ring we liked and bought it that night.”

Shacoski said his wife, Julie, ran around the house screaming in delight at the news that the money for the ring would be refunded.

“It’s a great memory. It takes something so personal, one of the stolen rings was a family heirloom, and it’s great to have something like this replace the memory of the break-in.”

Shad Chittock was looking into purchasing an engagement ring for his girlfriend and found himself in Stucki jewelers during the Free If It Snows promotional weekend.

“I didn’t even know about the promotion until after I picked out the ring,” said Chittock, who also bought a pearl necklace for his girlfriend.

When it snowed on Christmas Day, Chittock said he was hopeful but unsure if there would be the required inch of snow to win the refund.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen,” Chittock said. “We still weren’t sure if it would be enough since it only snowed a little bit, and we thought, ‘We’ll just see what happens.’”

After the call that Stucki would honor the refund, Chittock said he was so grateful because the money saved can contribute to the wedding.

“I just found out the news (Jan. 7), and it’s great,” Chittock said. “With the refund of about $3,000, we will be able to pick out a venue for the wedding, which we weren’t going to be able to afford.”

The idea for Free If It Snows began after it snowed Christmas Day in 2007, giving the Arbaughs the idea that they could do what many jewelry stores do and try the offer as a way to promote sales and also give back to the community.

“We don’t normally have sales or doorbusters, and we were trying to find something for people to shop local and stay in town,” said James Arbaugh. “We figured we could give back to everybody if it snowed, and it would be better than any kind of sale.”

Because of the extended forecast’s prediction that there might be a white Christmas, James asked the insurance company if the sale could be extended, which led to the addition of Dec. 14 and 15 to the promotion.

“We started to look at the extended forecast, and the insurance company said we could offer the promotion up to 10 days before the actual weather event day, so we threw another weekend in there,” James said.

The Doppler reading from the Nevada County airport marked 1.8 inches of snow for Christmas Day, resulting in a refund total of more than $50,000, James said.

“The insurance pays for the refund, so we tell people that we’ll be just as happy to refund as much as we could since we pay a premium regardless,” James said. “We love to give back.”

A refund party will take place Feb. 1 and 2, which will also include special sales in the store, located at 148 Mill St. in Grass Valley. Ten percent of the sales will go to Interfaith Food Ministry, Arbaugh said.

“It’s part of our ongoing community effort to try to make it a win-win for everybody,” James said.

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email jterman@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4230.

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