The Super Bowl safety that shocked football fans across the country scored about $70,000 in refunds for customers of a Birmingham-area jeweler.
Jeff Dennis Jewelers ran a promotion over the past two weeks that promised all of his customers a cash refund on their purchases if a safety was scored in the Super Bowl by either team. And they would get to keep their jewelry.
Then, on the first snap of the game tonight, the center snapped the ball over Peyton Manning's head. The ball was recovered in the end zone by the Broncos, resulting in a safety for the Seattle Seahawks. It was the fastest scoring play in Super Bowl history, just 12 seconds into the game.
A safety occurred in the previous two Super Bowls but had happened in only three other Super Bowls in the game's history.
Dennis and his customers, even those that are Broncos fans, are cheering. Dennis has an insurance policy through Lloyd's of London that covers all the refunds. All he had to pay was a premium on the policy.
"I'm ecstatic," Dennis said. "I can't put it into words. It's unbelievable."
This is the third such promotion that has paid dividends for Dennis in the past three years.
In November 2012, Dennis ran a promotion that offered refunds to any customers who bought jewelry the week before the Iron Bowl if either Alabama or Auburn shut out the other team. When the Crimson Tide beat the Tigers 49-0, Lloyd's of London had to shell out about $55,000 worth of refunds to 303 of Dennis' customers.
Then on Labor Day of last year, Dennis offered refunds to every customer who bought jewelry in his store between Aug. 1 and Aug. 26 if it rained more than 1 inch on Labor Day at the National Weather Service monitoring station at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. It rained more than 1.4 inches, and 592 customers got refunds from Lloyd's of London totaling almost $90,000.
Each time, many of the customers who received refunds turned around and spent the money back in his store, he said.
This time, about 400 customers will be getting refunds, Dennis said. Some of the purchases were for $30 or $40 bracelets, but there were numerous customers who spent several thousand dollars, including one $6,000 purchase, he said.
One couple put half the amount down for their engagement rings with the intention of letting the refund pay for the other half, he said.
Brian Nunnally of Kimberly is one of Dennis' happy customers. When the safety was scored, he jumped up excitedly and ran into the bedroom where his wife, Gracie, was and then realized she didn't know why he was so excited.
He had bought her a floating pendant necklace from Jeff Dennis Jewelers as a Valentine's Day gift, and while she had given him a potential gift wish list at his request, she didn't know what he had bought, he said.
"She knew about the promotion, so she figured out what was going on - that a safety had occurred in the game," he said.
He was so happy that he went ahead and gave her the necklace tonight. And now they're due for a refund of about $260, he said.
"I just couldn't believe it," Nunnally said. "We're definitely happy about it .... We really do appreciate Jeff."
Dennis said he just thought of this promotion two weeks ago, so he was only able to promote it on Facebook. The snow and ice storm that hit central Alabama last week kept him shut down a couple of days during the promotion, but he ended the week with strong sales the past couple of days, he said.
Dennis said he loves the fact that his customers are so happy with these promotions.
"People like to shop where it's fun, and this has been very successful for us," he said.
His business has grown tremendously over the past year.
"The exposure of something like this you just can't buy," he said. "It's put my name in front of a lot of people ... I just feel blessed. I really do."
National media picked up on the last two promotions and likely will be interested in this one, too, he said.
Dennis had just sat down in his recliner at home to watch the game when the safety occurred. It was very nerve-wracking while he waited to make sure the Broncos had recovered the ball and the referees sorted through a penalty that eventually was waived, he said.
Then things went wild.
"My phone is blowing up" with text messages and Facebook messages, he said. "It's been absolutely crazy, and it's going to get crazier."
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