The company that makes Entertainment coupon books – which are popular as fundraising tools – went out of business earlier this month, but those left holding the chubby green books shouldn’t be afraid to use the coupons they’ve already paid for.
“We will still accept them in good faith,” said Vince Karam, owner of Greek to Me restaurant in Kenmore.
Entertainment books are popular in Western New York and often are sold as fundraisers by youth groups and schools. The books are also sold online and in stores such as Tops Markets, where they are still available.
Most of the coupons inside are valid for buy-one-get-one-free deals up to a certain amount at restaurants, movie theaters and other retailers.
Advertisers do not pay to be listed in the book and are not reimbursed by Entertainment Publications. Advertisers who opt to be included in the book use it as a marketing tool.
Entertainment Publications made its money from the sale of the books, which fetch $35 when sold by fundraising organizations or $22.75 when bought on the company’s website.
Though Entertainment Publications is no longer in business, it makes little sense for merchants not to honor their coupons in its books.
“We do it to get new people in the door. We want them to have a nice experience and come back,” Karam said. “It’s not worth it to ruffle any feathers.”
Peter Witt agreed. The owner of Witter’s Sports Bar and Grill in North Tonawanda said the Entertainment book was his restaurant’s most effective marketing tool.
“I’m hoping somebody else will step up and fill in for them,” he said.
He has already heard from one such publication, Elite, a Buffalo-based maker of coupons valid in the Buffalo Niagara region. City Dining Cards is another Buffalo-based company, and it sells decks of coupon cards here and in seven other cities. Both companies have programs tailored to organizations engaged in fundraising.
Michigan-based Entertainment Publications itself may not be gone for long, however. Lowell Potiker, the son of Entertainment Publications founders, bid $11.3 million for the company in bankruptcy court in hopes of resurrecting the business.