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25Score rises to raise funds again

Posted: February 3, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: February 3, 2012 1:30 a.m.

President Ed Bernstein displays merchant directories and brochures for the 25Score program in December.

 


At one time, students from local schools would show up at your door selling annual coupon books for discounts at Santa Clarita businesses to raise funds for their athletic teams or extracurricular school programs.

Today, 25Score offers the fundraising program via a plastic membership card.

The 25Score discount program hit hard times in 2008 as the recession took hold and the program all but disappeared as a fundraising tool.

In November 2009, local resident Ed Bernstein and wife, Marlene, stepped in and bought the company. Ed Bernstein spent the next nine months rebuilding the brand, working with customers and wrapping his vehicles to advertise. While working to rebuild the program, people often told him they thought the business had disappeared.

“Schools weren’t thrilled with it when I bought it,” he said. “I worked with them to overcome the bad taste in the mouth and made sure we handled the program correctly.”

As Bernstein worked to rebuild the program in 2010, the company had no local schools participating. So 25Score designed a texting program that helped sell a record-breaking number of cards that year.

“We hoped to get two schools back into the program in 2011,” Bernstein said. “But we ended up getting them all back,”

In July 2011, 25Score launched a mobile application, and in August, the company helped raise $45,000 for schools in two weeks, he said.

And all that fundraising is risk-free for any nonprofit or school.

Growth in bad times

The brand was worth rebuilding and rebranding, Bernstein said. Eighty-five percent of people in Santa Clarita were already familiar with 25Score.

“We’ve grown 30 percent in the worst economy,” he said.

Fundraising groups can pre-order the cards, and buyers go online to register the membership cards to activate them.

Organizations buy the cards at a discounted rate, but only pay for the cards they sell. 25Score takes back any cards that aren’t sold.

And fundraising organizations can net around 40 percent profit for their sporting team, school group or cause, Bernstein said.

The company also makes the cards available to the public by automating the online process and allowed residents to purchase items online. Today, 40 percent of all sales are made online, Bernstein said.

“People can go online and buy 25 to 30 items behind the wall, buy an e-ticket,” he said.

Or they can use their plastic membership cards at participating merchants.

Demographics

In 1989, the company began, representing some 40 merchants. Twenty-two years later, the company now represents discounts from some 750 merchants and offers the specials to more than 40,000 members locally, Bernstein said.

“We’ve sold the program to College of the Canyons, and all the high schools,” he said.

While all ages buy into the program, a large number of people buying the cards are between 55 and 70 years old, Bernstein said.

Members tend to be people who normally buy plenty of items without using coupons. But they will use the 25Score card, Bernstein said.

Bernstein’s longtime presence in the community may have something to do with his success in rebuilding the brand.

Community grown

Having been a resident of the community since 1990, Bernstein and his wife have raised their children who all attended school in the William S. Hart Union School District. His youngest is currently enrolled at College of the Canyons and the oldest is a graduate of University of California, San Diego, and working in the San Diego area.

An entrepreneur at heart with more than 40 years experience as owner and operator of many businesses in the SCV, Bernstein is passionate about all projects and companies he takes on to grow.

The company has become a very good brand again, he said, of the company most people thought had gone.  And the program is back in the school district, confirmed Gail Pinsker, community liaison officer with the Hart district.

“Ed and Marlene are good people that work hard and care about the SCV,” Pinsker said.

More information can be found online at http://25score.com or by calling 25Score (661) 257-2673.

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