Our mission is to help store owners with special promotions and store closing sales. The business was founded by C. C. Brooker in 1916. In the 100 plus years since, family leadership has been solidly in place. Four generations have been deeply entrenched in its growth and development, including C. C., his son Paul, Paul’s daughter and son-in-law Diane and Garold Wingate and their sons Tim and Mike (C. C.’s great-grandsons).
C. C. Brooker was a department store manager in 1916 when the owner decided to retire and hold a going out of business sale. C. C. managed the store during the going out of business sale and developed a comprehensive store closing plan that could be applied to any retail store. The liquidation was so successful that C. C. was asked to assist with a quitting business sale for a store in a nearby town. Again, it was highly successful and another store owner asked C. C. to help with his retirement sale. A business was born!
C. C. developed a customer incentive program he called the Outside Advertiser Program. It was based on an election theme with prize winners determined by the campaigners (customers) who accumulated the most votes. It encouraged campaigners to shop the store everyday and tell other people about the sale creating a virtual storm of word of mouth advertising! It gave campaigners and their supporters an incentive to buy more and more merchandise as the sale progressed. It encouraged repeat shopping with interest building throughout the sale. It was not unusual for the last day of a five or six week promotional sale to be the biggest volume day of the sale! On store closing sales, it helped maintain a high customer count even as the inventory shrank. It encouraged and generated more and larger purchases per customer. It created an incentive, other than the sale price, for customers to buy slow turners.
This was before credit cards when almost every store carried charge accounts. The Outside Advertiser Program encouraged customers to pay cash rather than charge merchandise and it rewarded customers who paid off existing charge accounts. Collecting accounts was an important part of cash-raising promotional sales and a necessity for store closing sales. Accounts receivable often ran as much as fifty percent of inventory and It was not unusual for them to be larger than inventory cost. In short, the Outside Advertiser Program did everything a store owner needed. It helped the Brooker company produce results no store owner or competitor could match.
The Outside Advertiser Program was one of the major reasons for the rapid growth of the Brooker Company during the 1920’s. It also played a major role in helping the Brooker Company become the only liquidation company to survive the great depression of the 1930’s. Because of it Brooker could produce good results in a depressed economy where competitors could not.
C. C.’s son Paul graduated from the University of Kansas and came to work for the company in 1931. The company ceased operation during World War II and Paul joined the Navy as a gunnery officer and served in all three theaters of the war. During the war, a store owner’s biggest problem was finding merchandise to buy. They didn’t need help selling it. After the war, C. C. reorganized and started all over again as a small regional company. At the same time many new competitive companies sprang up all over the country.
Garold Wingate and Diane Brooker met in 1958, while attending Kansas University. After a two year courtship they were married. In 1960, while teaching school Garold started working part-time for the company. He joined the company full-time in 1963. He shortly became Vice President and organized the company’s expansion into regional sales areas across the nation and in 1968 he led the expansion into Canada. By the mid 1970’s Brooker dominated in North America.
Up to 1978, Brooker’s business was 66% to 68% promotional every year, then came the Carter years with 16% to 22% interest rates. These high interest rates forced the closing of many good retail businesses. By 1981, 98% of Brooker’s business was retirement or going out of business sales. The older retailer who operated on the theory “You can’t sell from an empty wagon” was retiring or forced to close and rescue assets. The next generation store owners were better trained and educated in inventory control. They had to be; and they had a new tool, the computer.
In 1987, Garold updated and reformatted the Outside Advertiser Program from an election theme to a game theme based on points. This made it simpler, easier to understand and even more effective. It was renamed The Fun Game.
In 1999, Garold and Diane Wingate formed Wingate Sales Solutions Inc. to carry on the family tradition of helping store owners with special promotions and store closing sales. This adds up to a century of service under the same family flag and a huge and growing amount of experience, skill and creative innovation passed from generation to generation for the benefit of the company’s clientele.
The company is keeper of the family’s best contributions to the promotional and liquidation methods now in use. It holds copyrights for traffic building and customer participation events available only to Wingate clients. Our experience cannot be equaled. It’s all here with us, available and waiting for your call at 1-888-480-SALE(7253).
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If you’re thinking of a promotional sale or closing a store, find out how we can help. Call 1 (888) 480-7253 today!
We welcome your questions, and we’ll send you our free confidential information packet.
You owe it to yourself to find out how we can help!
Request a meeting for a promotional or liquidation sale evaluation of your store and an explanation of the Wingate Sale plan customized for your store. No cost, no obligation.