Entrepreneur

They say the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so you probably can’t go too wrong with this beef-jerky bouquet fromĀ Gary West Smoked Meats. The bouquet of one dozen long-stem steak strips sells for $39 with no shipping fees.

Owner Paul Murdoch says Christmas still reigns supreme at Gary West Smoked Meats, but Valentine's Day is a close second.

Owner Paul Murdoch says Christmas still reigns supreme at Gary West Smoked Meats, but Valentine’s Day is a close second.

Paul Murdoch, co-owner of the meat smoker, says a “couldn’t hurt” philosophy was the key ingredient to his burgeoning Valentine’s Day operation. A former employee suggested the idea of making seasonal bouquets using Gary West’s jerky in 2007. Though skeptical at first, Murdoch says the marketing ploy proved to be a boon for the business. Christmas still reigns supreme in seasonal sales, but Valentine’s Day is a close second — accounting for about 5 percent of annual sales, which totaled $2 million last year. “Valentine’s Day has become really significant,” Murdoch says. “When we introduced this jerky bouquet, I didn’t think it would do nearly as well as it has.”

Many people might not consider a gift of beef jerky very romantic. But the quirkiness is part of the appeal. Fox News, Cosmopolitan and other media snapped up the story, and orders surged, Murdoch says. The company’s targeted use of Facebook advertising has been especially effective. After the Cosmo piece, Murdoch realized that his core customer is women in relationships with men. “We’ll use Facebook primarily because you can target that demographic so accurately,” he says.

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