Perham business owner starts guerilla advertising campaign to grow customer base – InForum

Perham business owner starts guerilla advertising campaign to grow customer base – InForum

PERHAM, Minn. — A marker, cardboard and wit have made quite an impact on the Perham business community.

Veronica Marpoe, who owns

North Pines Market

, started a guerilla advertising campaign during the 2023 holiday season. To drive more shoppers to Perham businesses, she had her picture taken in front of storefronts while holding a cardboard sign with a catchy phrase.

“I think the most popular one was for

Genes Sport Shop

,” Marpoe said, noting the sign read: “Teach a man to fish, and he will spend his whole paycheck here.”

The posts circulated rapidly online, collecting likes, comments and bringing new and known shoppers to Perham. Marpoe knew the marketing campaign was working because people would tell the cashier at the store they stopped because the “cardboard sign lady” inspired them to do so.

“I also saw people from out of town comment on the post, asking where the business was located,” Marpoe said. “That was awesome; that was the whole point of it.”

Perham business owner Veronica Marpoe used humor when promoting a car repair business in Perham.

Contributed / North Pines Market

While Marpoe was busy promoting other Perham businesses, she didn’t think of making a sign for her own shop.

Anne Paluvivki is a manager at

Brew Ales and Eats in Perham

, a popular restaurant next to Marpoe’s business.

Paluvivki had seen the posts that Marpoe made on Facebook, as had several crew members at the Brew.

“Veronica (Marpoe) does a lot for our community,” Paluvivki said, noting one of the employees at the Brew came up with the idea of creating a sign for North Pines Market.

The sign said something like, “More supportive than a good bra.”

Marpoe greatly appreciated her business neighbor thinking of her and supporting her.

She added that the act of kindness, while special, is not unusual in Perham. In fact, it is that mentality that led her to guerrilla advertising.

“A neighboring business began opening on Mondays, and I wanted to promote it, but in a fun way,” Marpoe recalled.

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Perham business owner Veronica Marpoe used what happened at a business to create a fun sign that explained the plywood over a window.

Contributed / North Pines Market

On social media, she often saw a man holding a cardboard sign making proclamations or suggestions. While more than one person has utilized the cardboard signs on social media, Seth Phillips may be the most well-known, with 8 million followers.

Marpoe took advertising and marketing classes while working on her graphic design degree. Her studies made her wise to the simple and effective supplemental marketing opportunity that may reach a new customer base.

“I decided to give it a try,” she said, noting the response was quick and positive. “I thought, what if we went to businesses and just stood in front with a sign to help promote them, and our town for the holidays?”


Veronica Marpoe, who owns North Pines Market, promoted businesses in Perham, such as The Cactus with a cardboard sign.

Contributed / North Pines Market

Marpoe and an employee came up with phrases for specific businesses. Then, they hopped in a vehicle and spent several mornings driving around town and taking photographs. Typically, Marpoe stood holding a cardboard sign above her head. Somewhere in the picture was the business sign.

“We had a lot of people comment,” she said. “There was a gal who even came in and talked about it — ‘Tell the North Pines girl I stopped in here because of her signs’ — it was great.”

On some social media posts, people asked where the Perham business was located, indicating to Marpoe that the campaign went beyond the city. Then, businesses began reaching out to Marpoe asking to be included. At that point, Marpoe realized the growth and scale of Perham’s business district.

“There’s a ton of businesses,” she said.

Instead of trying to cover every business in the city, she decided she would stick to the idea of helping people while having fun.


Perham is known for having a scent of dog food or gummy worms in the air, depending on which factory is processing on a given day. Business owner Veronica Marpoe celebrated the truth, noting her golden retriever loves it when Tuffy’s is hard at work.

Contributed / North Pines Market

“Throughout the day, I would think of sayings for businesses in town,” she said. “I’m a witty person; very sarcastic, so I was up at night and in bed with my sketch pad thinking of things to write.”

By the end of the holiday season, Marpoe had created 87 posts promoting Perham businesses.

“And, we still didn’t even hit everybody,” she said.


Perham business owner Veronica Marpoe mixes truth and humor with hopes of bringing more people in for family photos.

Contributed / North Pines Market

Perham felt like a familiar home to Missouri native

Marpoe grew up in a small town in Missouri. She also attended college in the “Show-Me” state, which is where she met her future husband, Jeremy.

“I was a senior (in college),” she recalled, noting that after getting married, the two visited the area that her husband grew up in, and quickly agreed to call the Perham area home.

“Growing up in a small town gave me a deep appreciation for this way of life,” she said. “Perham is great — it’s big enough to be busy, but small enough to have those connections where you feel like you know just about everyone. When we moved here, it felt familiar.”

Marpoe noted her husband got into the construction business with

RL Miller Construction

, and she joined the growing business community in 2019.

“We had chatted about having a storefront, but wanted to find the right location,” she recalled. “When our location became available, it was perfect.”


North Pines Market offers home decor, along with other items, and has creative classes as well offered to the public and for private parties.

Contributed / North Pines Market

In addition to the large retail area, the business offered a large storage area. They split the back area in two. Part of it is used for creative classes, the other part for office spaces.

“I had been teaching classes at


(in Ottertail), but this allowed me to not have to transport materials and host classes in Perham,” she recalled.

After the holiday season concluded, Marpoe has kept busy with remodeling the interior of the store.

“I typically remodel in January,” she explained, noting the fresh look is a great way to welcome new products.

Between running a growing business and promoting other businesses, Marpoe also orchestrates community events with others’ help, including Oktoberfest and the Easter egg hunt.

“I love our town so much,” she said. “It offers so many different aspects — business to community — and I just love promoting it. I just want everyone to succeed. I will be Perham’s biggest cheerleader for as long as I can.”

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The North Pines Market storefront exterior is often as appealing as the interior for customers and those visiting downtown Perham.

Contributed / North Pines Market

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Perham business owner Veronica Marpoe used her natural aptitude with wit to create catching signs during the holiday season.

Contributed / North Pines Market


Veronica Marpoe, who owns North Pines Market, incorporated the history of buildings that are now businesses into her guerilla marketing effort.

Contributed / North Pines Market

Originally Appeared Here