Getting patrons to foot the marketing bill

LOUISVILLE Ky. Nearly every marketing program is expensive—unless you get your customers to pay for it.

Napa River Grill here did just that prior to moving from a nearly 40-year old building to a custom-built facility in June. Seeking to position their California-themed, fine-dining spot as the town’s top table, co-owners J.D. Rothberg and Simon Fields created the Vineyard Club.

The strategy was simple: 24 members pony up $25,000 apiece to receive $

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