Well Done - Trellis Realty Helps Steak House Triple Projected Sales on Watchfire Digital Billboard

T-Bones, a restaurant chain and early advertiser on both of Trellis' digital billboards, provides evidence of the power of the new medium.  Although the chain has restaurants in several locations throughout the state, only the Laconia location used the Trellis digital billboards to advertise their annual St. Patrick's $9.99 corned beef dinner special.  That location saw a 300 percent increase in business over last year while business at the other locations remained flat.

The idea for converting to digital billboards came to Trellis Realty Management's owner, Allen Kasiewicz, after he lost an advertiser on an existing vinyl billboard and posted an ad looking for a new advertiser.  "By the time I drove home, I had four phone calls waiting from interested advertisers.  Within the next couple days, 15 new advertisers had contacted me about the board space.  One of the calls came from someone who wanted to lease my land and permit and put up a digital billboard."

His curiosity piqued, Kasiewicz researched this new concept, contacted a number of digital billboard manufacturers, put them through their paces, and eventually purchased two boards from Watchfire.  The boards, although back-to-back, run independent ad schedules.  They are the first  digital billboards to be installed in the state by any billboard operator and have become the new "southern gateway" marker to New Hampshire's Lakes Region.

Additional current advertisers include several local restaurants, a multi-store recreation sports company, a LEEDS Certified construction company, a ski resort, an independent high school and several local events.  The summer schedule adds the famous Laconia Motorcycle Week and a large, world-class resort.  "The local commuters are 'a buzz' about the vibrant images," Kasiewicz said.  Trellis also is providing public service message space on each board to the City of Belmont and is presently working with the NH State Police to develop a tie to the national AMBER ALERT system.

Although a relative newcomer to the outdoor advertising business, Trellis is making its mark on New Hampshire's advertising scene.  The billboards, recently converted from a single-sided vinyl billboard are located on Route 3, the Daniel Webster Highway, in Belmont, NH.  These new boards are positioned on one of the state's most heavily traveled, non-divided commercial highways, a half-mile south of the Belmont Mall and just five miles north of the Tanger Outlet Center at Exit 20 off Interstate 93.

"The Watchfire boards look terrific," said Kasiewicz.  "From all perspectives, it was clear that the Watchfire products are engineered beautifully.  Unlike other manufacturers, when I opened the board up, the Watchfire unit was neat and organized with only two cables connecting each LED panel, which means fewer potential points of failure.  Also, Watchfire is the only manufacturer that fully encapsulates their LED panels, which really helps protect these units against the harsh New Hampshire winters."

Kasiewicz expects to invest in other digital billboard locations.  His advice for other independent operators thinking about going digital is to resist the temptation to buy the cheapest billboard and instead buy quality.  "Do your homework and look at how the board is made and how it operates; consider the warranty and who's going to provide on-going service and the start-up support and training.  There really is a big difference," Kasiewicz said.

Both billboards measure 10'6" by 16' in Watchfire's 19mm model. The digital billboards are appealing to outdoor advertisers because they can be updated simply and remotely in minutes using software and a high-speed Internet connection.  Digital billboards also allow multiple advertisements on the same board, and because the messages can be changed quickly they work well for advertisers with time-sensitive messages or multiple product lines.