Last November, over 85 Kansas City families received a unique invitation in the mail. Schloegel Contracting Co. was hosting a Christmas Tree Giveaway at a local tree farm to say thanks to their clients and friends for all of the business that had been sent their way.

This event started with everyone gathering for hot chocolate and snacks in the picturesque cottage on the grounds of the farm. Each family was then sent off into the woods with a special Schloegel tag to pick a tree from the hundreds of specimens available.

Everyone then convened back at the cottage for a huge bonfire complete with hot dogs and burgers grilled by Schloegel employees. It was a wonderful opportunity for networking with the staff as well as with other Schloegel customers.

The following week, after the tree farm staff had cut, cleaned, and wrapped all of the tagged trees, a Schloegel employee picked them up and delivered them to the clients over the course of two days.

"We wanted something that was different and that would include as many of our clients as we could," says Debbie Allman, sales manager. "This involved their families in a wonderful, homey event. The investment of $1,500 was marketing money well spent." --Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage, Fulton, Md. (301) 490-5620,