Earlier this year, Lionel Richie stopped by the JCPenney Home Office in Plano, Texas, to surprise our associates and celebrate the launch of his home collection, Lionel Richie Home, available exclusively at select JCPenney stores and JCPenney.com. During that exciting day, Richie met two of his biggest fans, Jessica Marple, women’s buyer, and Shandra Simpson, marketing senior specialist, who shared extraordinary stories of their connection to Lionel Richie over the years. To their surprise, Richie himself showed up at their desks with flowers to thank each of them for their devotion to his career.
And if having one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time show up at your cubicle wasn’t enough, Marple and Simpson also received a VIP experience for two to see Richie perform at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Oct. 19. Marple bought her mom, who played Richie’s music throughout Marple’s childhood, and Simpson brought her fiancé. The group of four enjoyed complimentary airfare, limo service, a suite at The Planet Hollywood Resort, VIP passes to a meet-and-greet event with Richie, and of course, VIP tickets to his show.
“This was such an incredible experience. Lionel actually remembered us. I posted pictures to my Instagram from the day he surprised us at the office and he commented on them from his account. I couldn’t believe it,” said Simpson.
During the concert, Richie played his biggest hits for over two hours. Simpson’s favorite song was “Truly,” because it was her grandmother’s favorite. Her grandmother even taught Simpson how to play “Truly” on the piano as a child.
Marple’s favorite moment of the trip was seeing her mom, who is quite possibly a bigger Richie fan than her daughter, nearly pass out when she met the music legend during the meet-and-greet event.
“My mom just started shaking. I’ve never seen her so excited. We had to let a few people go in front of us so she could calm down… but she pulled it together in time to meet Lionel,” said Marple, with a smile.
Of course, Richie is an incredibly talented musician but both women agreed that what impressed them the most was how gracious, kind and authentic he was as a person.
“It was truly a dream come true. He is nicer than I ever could have imagined,” said Simpson.
When JCPenney sought to introduce a new celebrity partnership for home furnishings earlier this year, Richie’s name quickly rose to the top. In fact, a consumer awareness study revealed that Lionel Richie has an extremely high awareness amongst our JCPenney customer base, with words such as “classy,” “sincere” and “warm” rising to the top.
It’s easy to see through his actions, and genuine appreciation for his fans, why Richie’s appeal continues to span generations. This VIP concert experience is a testament to his support and appreciation for JCPenney associates, whom he views as key partners in his Lionel Richie Home collaboration with JCPenney.