Scott Nichols, owner of Chester’s Coins and Gifts in Ames, Iowa, complained earlier in the year when the International Coin Collectors Association came through town, buying silver and rare coins reportedly below melt value at a local hotel.
When ICCA’s sister company, Ohio Valley Gold and Silver Refinery, announced that it, too, was coming to Ames, Nichols didn’t get angry. He got competitive.
He and local jeweler Shari Busse decided to start a numismatic price war when they heard that Ohio Valley was setting up shop in April at the Country Inn and Suites.
THR and Associates, a Springfield, Ill., firm, owns Ohio Valley along with ICCA and other similar road show companies.
Nichols and Busse booked a room at the Comfort Inn, a football field away from the Country Inn and Suites on the same street. Only the Comfort Inn is at the corner of a well-traveled intersection, whereas the Country Inn is near a dead-end with no access to other thoroughfares. In other words, not only did the two hotels have similar-sounding names on the same street, you couldn’t miss Nichols’ hotel and needed directions to find the Ohio Valley one.
Score one for the locals.
Predictably, Nichols and Busse set up signage along the intersection, proclaiming “Coin Show” and “We Buy Gold.” Some folks looking for the Ohio Valley buying team probably mistook Nichols and Busse for their competitor.
“The best thing was you had to pass our hotel to get to theirs,” Nichols said.
But the competition didn’t end there. It also raged in the town newspaper, The Ames Tribune.
Iowa State University is located in Ames, whose residents are persnickety about home-team colors. Ohio Valley took out a full page in Ohio University colors (white and green) rather than in ISU’s cardinal and gold.