By Samantha Joseph
STUART - An agreement between Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Walgreens will make it possible for customers to buy tickets to the Stuart attraction at the retail chain.
More than 85,000 people have visited Sailfish Splash Waterpark since it opened last April. Park officials hope to ratchet that number upward, thanks to this latest partnership, which makes tickets available at 21 Walgreens locations from northern Palm Beach to south Indian River counties.
Walgreens sells the tickets through its home box office, a program that allows point-of-sale devices to offer passes to area attractions and events at discounted rates.
"We're continuing to cultivate sophisticated business programs," said Craig Jon Anderson, marketing coordinator for Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Martin County's parks and recreation department.
"The technical reality is anybody can buy a Sailfish Splash Waterpark ticket from any Walgreens anywhere, but it's all about convenience and we're focusing on these 21 locations."
At the Walgreens store located at 3180 S.E. Federal Highway, about a mile southeast of the waterpark, employees are selling about 10 tickets per day in the program's infancy and with only in-house signs advertising the promotion.
One appealing feature: the store offers deep discounts on daily admission and season passes to the Stuart park, located at 931 S.E. Ruhnke St.
Adults can pay $8.25 at Walgreens, for instance, instead of $11.25 at the gate, and children $6.75, rather than $8.25.
Season passes at Walgreens cost $39.99 for adult residents, versus $45 at the park and $29.99 for children, down from $35.
Nonresidents who buy from the retailer can secure season passes for $59.99, versus $67.50 at the gate. For nonresident children, the price at the store is $44.99 instead of $52.50.
"People will definitely benefit from buying at the store. It's not like this is saving them 50 cents. It's saving them $5 or $6 bucks," said Kris Anagnostu, pharmacist and store manager. "They can purchase ahead of time and get a significant discount when they buy their tickets at Walgreens."
Park officials said offering the discounted tickets will increase admissions, without adding to operating costs.
The Walgreens deal is based on a business model aimed at increasing impulse buying, and has no upfront costs for the park, Mr. Anderson said.
Beyond the relationship selling tickets, the two companies have agreed to cross-promotional ventures that they hope drive traffic to the park and stores.
At Walgreens. Mr. Anagnostu said the store has seen a slight increase in towel, sunscreen and related product sales since launching park ticket sales.
Park officials will kick off advertising efforts in coming months to spread word about ticket availability at the retail chain. They plan to use an LED billboard on the corner of Kanner Highway and Monterrey Road, in Stuart, to advertise.
"When it's convenient to purchase tickets, we're more likely to generate sales," Mr. Anderson said.