The boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is one of the oldest boardwalks in the United States.  The town itself was originally founded as a Methodist religious camp in 1873.  The boardwalk runs for about a mile along the beach and also serves as a good example for why you should take care of your existing customers.

Along this stretch you can find shops, restaurants, hotels and condos along one side and the beach itself on the other.  The boardwalk is filled with runners and walkers in the morning and this changes to beachgoers later in the day.  The evening brings people out for an evening walk and a lot of kids with ice cream.

The town invests time and resources into keeping the boardwalk safe and up-to-date.  They understand that this simple one-mile stretch is the anchor of the town.  Throughout the summer you can find a work crew with a small truck pulling a trailer that contains extra planks and tools that are use to repair damaged boards.  The boards are all the same size and can be replaced very quickly by pulling up the damaged pieces, cutting the replacement to fit, and then screwing down the new board.  The new plank is pressure-treated and doesn’t need to be stained.  The salt, rain, foot traffic, and even spilled ice cream will quickly weather the new boards and within a season or two it’ll look like it has already been there.

Without this service, the boardwalk would quickly deteriorate and become a safety hazard.  Constantly servicing it keeps the boardwalk in great shape year-around.  As the town of Rehoboth continues to expand away from the coast, they clearly understand that they need to take care of one of their greatest assets.  This keeps people coming back to this beach and not going elsewhere.

It’s easy for businesses to overlook and take for granted their existing and long-term customers. Forgetting how you got to this point at the expense of finding new customers, products, or services can cause people to find a reason to move on to other options.

[Photo: Close-up of the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware]

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