Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How To Get Buzz

By Chester Campbell


My younger son, Mark, is creative and innovative. Don’t know where he gets it. When he was a teenager, he saw a picture of a small rowboat in a magazine and promptly went about building one just like it. A natural outdoor type, he took his boat to the lake on fishing trips.

After getting a commission from ROTC in college, he followed this penchant for the rugged life by volunteering for Army Special Forces. He took parachute training, Ranger training, and all the good stuff the SF folks taught at Fort Bragg. Sent to Okinawa, he led an A Team that trained Special Forces in Thailand.

He tells some wild tales of things he ate while living off the land during training. And in Thailand he chomped on some creatures you wouldn’t think about having for dinner.

After thirteen years in the Army, he settled back in the Nashville area with his Korean wife and two boys. My daughter-in-law, I Pun, is ambitious and entrepreneurial. Over a period of several years, they ran a dry-cleaning business, an Asian food store, a karaoke lounge, a convenience market, and a Korean restaurant.

Also during that time, Mark bought 80 acres of hillside property in a rural county fifty miles east of Nashville. With a little help from his sons, and working at odd times, mostly weekends, he built a cabin near the top of his hill (which we call Campbell Mountain). It has no electricity or running water, but he enjoys staying there when he can. He has planted fruit trees and a vegetable garden at the foot of the hill.

All of the above is prologue to his newest venture. Within the next week, he will open a new business on Myatt Drive in Madison, the Nashville suburb where I live. Are you ready for this? It will be:

The Flat Possum Roadkill Café

We visited the place yesterday (I had to teach him how to make coffee). Besides sandwiches and coffee and tea and other such light fare, it will feature tobacco, beer, and lotto. He’s having a ball with it. The Health Department inspectors said it was the talk of the office when they got back.

Mark’s reasoning is that if you’re a new small business with no advertising budget, you have to create some buzz. He figures The Flat Possum Roadkill Café should get it.

It’s the same with mystery books. Buzz is the word. My Greg McKenzie mysteries will be available at the café. I might even put stickers on them “Bought at The Roadkill Café.”

Remember the old Broadway saying, “Will it play in Peoria?” Here’s a photo from the Peoria newspaper that Mark is thinking about displaying at the café (the poor possum earned his stripes but he isn’t playing any longer):




3 comments:

Beth Terrell said...

No one does buzz better than Chester, the official King of Promotion.

Chester, I love the idea of The Flat Possum Roadkill cafe and will happily dine there. I would love to have my detective dine there as well, but please tell your son not to display the poor dead possum poster. A cartoon possum (I can draw you one), or a photo of a stuffed possum in the middle of the road with tire tracks across its middle would be funny, but a real squashed possum...not very appetizing. I would have to have a blindfold with my dinner!

Ben Small said...

Do they deliver? :<)

Chester Campbell said...

Beth--I'll pass you comments on to Mark. His sign isn't up yet, but I saw a drawing on it and the possum on the sign is definitely alive.

Ben--They'll probably drag your order over.