Monday, July 27, 2009

Where can a small business advertise for free?

Update again: I was at Border's book store the other day and I was looking to see if they had a bulletin board for advertising or not. I found it, it was by the restrooms with a sign that said "advertise your non-profit event here". I was saddened at first, but right away I spotted a multi layer stand for business advertising. There were a lot of postcards in the slots from local businesses. So I left my cards there, and I was very thankful to Border's for supporting the small business. So I am changing the title to this post to "Where can a small business advertise", because I am now on a quest to find all the bulletin boards in my neighborhood. So, keep watching this post.

Update: I wrote to Panera, and they responded as follows:

"Thank you for contacting Panera Bread. Our bulletin boards are to be
used for non-profit organizations only, not to promote advertising of a
business. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused

So today, I asked the same question from Starbuck Coffee house and received the same response :"They are not allowed to advertise other business". Well, needless to say I am very saddened about their policy. I changed the title of this article to say "Did you Know, Coffee Shop Bulletin Boards are not for business advertising?".

It is no secret that I am a struggling artist with a very small
business. That means my advertising budget is almost non-existence.
So, I had to get very creative to come up with free to very cheap
advertising. One of the ways I advertise is by printing promotional
flyers and post cards and posting them on community bulletin boards
around the town and everywhere I visit. I am always in search of
community bulletin boards and have found them in a few coffee shops and
Panera Bread Restaurants. Yesterday, as usual I went into a Panera
Bread Restaurant to place my Ad on their community bulletin board and I
noticed a sign saying the board was for non-profit ads only and to see a
manager. So, I found the manager and showed him my Ads, he said "we
cannot promote other businesses". So, saddened I left the restaurant,
thinking I will never come back. It is their restaurant and they can do
what they please; however, I wonder why they cannot support the local
small business owners, why they cannot support the handmade movement.
After all it is a community board and I am part of the community. I
sell handmade jewelry; one quick look at my ad was obvious that in no
way or shape I was taking business from them, I was no threat to their
business. So why turn down a small business in your community?


  1. This was very interesting to read.
    I happen to own a fashion modeling company that covers all of USA and I would love to hear from you.
    We shall be listing jewelry on our site soon…
    Please do contact me and add in the comment section: forward to Desiree
    Thank you,

  2. Hello,
    I have been looking for bulletin boards for years. When the stores take them down, I complain to the Manager. If they let people advertise their business, the people will buy products in their store. Boy are they stupid. I went around Canton to different Pharmacy Stores and asked if I could leave my business card in their waiting area. I only found one pharmacy in Canton that would gladly let me advertise. Guess What? I give him all my business. About $350.00 a month of prescriptions. Plus, I am a Home Care Nurse; and I can direct many new customers to his business. He was the only one smart enough to see that. How can people be so dumb!
    Patty Ann

  3. Hey this was a nice post. I agree for small businesses, free advertising is crucial. I spent the morning trying to find a central website that has locations of these "free bulletin boards"... no luck. I could imagine that anyone who goes through the trouble of setting a site up may be able to actually charge for advertising themselves on the sidebars... I'll keep looking

  4. Hi, I know the original post is old now, but this is an issue and a trend I've noticed for awhile. It's frustrating. I remember there being bulletin boards in coffee shops and grocery stores, libraries, 'back in the day,' as I've started saying more lately. But the more small businesses are being replaced with chains, and the more corporate thinking takes over, the less human our expression gets to be. I think of bulletin boards as allowing for individual expression, including small businesses and individuals advertising goods and services to people in their direct area, not some person trolling through craigslist. I have seen an open bulletin board in a Whole Foods in my area. I'm in a Chicago suburb, and it's like a cultural wasteland here; a lack of small businesses like coffee shops, art galleries and the like. But even libraries here don't have bulletin boards. The community college here doesn't have one that I've seen either. Some colleges do. I'll keep looking.