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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 14, 2019 1 week ago

On the hunt for name-brand recognition

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A Tampa furniture maker's clever contest drew major attention to its new line of products.

BUILT, a Tampa-based maker of high-end, custom furniture, plans to introduce its own branded line of tables, chairs, desks and other home and office furnishings later in the year.

But because it doesn’t yet have a showroom, it came up with a novel way to build hype for its next move.

The custom foosball table created by BUILT and won by Chris Akins and Giovanna Rivera. Courtesy photo.

Dubbed Foos Gold, BUILT’s digital scavenger hunt event drew more than 200 people — some playing as individuals, some in teams — who sought the grand prize: a custom foosball table valued at nearly $4,000. Second prize was a $500 bar cart, while third place was a $200 side table.

The hunt got under way at 8 a.m. June 1, a Saturday. To obtain clues that would lead them to nine downtown Tampa locations where they would collect treasures, participants had to follow BUILT on Instagram and decipher riddles in posts on the social media platform.

“The turnout was much bigger than we’d expected, but it went off flawlessly,” says Melissa Santell, a BUILT marketing contractor who helped founder and CEO Andrew Watson plan the event.

Andrew Watson, third from right, and the BUILT team welcomed Foos Gold participants at Ulele, the finish line of the event. Courtesy photo.

Santell says the primary purpose of Foos Gold was to build awareness of what BUILT calls its “forever furniture.” It's constructed using solid slabs of wood meant to endure for generations, as opposed to “fast furniture” made of particle board that often winds up in landfills. But the contest was also a way to bring people together and give them a reason to explore downtown Tampa.

"Community is something we talk about all the time, but it can be hard to see,” Santell says. “We definitely saw and felt it this weekend. From the support of our sponsors and volunteers to watching nearly 200 participants dash around downtown Tampa, Foos Gold left us feeling truly grateful.”

Foos Gold participants who successfully deciphered and followed all the clues wound up at Ulele, a riverfront restaurant just north of downtown Tampa. Chris Akins and Giovanna Rivera, who completed the hunt in two hours and 20 minutes, won the foosball table. 

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