Balducci's Taps D.C. NBA Star for Promotions

BETHESDA, Md. -- Specialty food chain Balducci's here has signed a promotional agreement with NBA star Antawn Jamison of the Washington Wizards, for a marketing relationship that includes a signature sandwich and in-store appearances.

Jamison will kick off the promotional campaign with autograph signings at two Balducci's stores on May 21, pending his team's playoff game schedule.

The 6'9" All-Star forward, a self-professed food lover, helped to design the "Antawn Jamison Double-Down Sandwich," his own signature sandwich, for the chain. The sandwich consists of roasted turkey, double smoked bacon, double Gloucester cheese, lemon dill mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, red leaf lettuce, and vine ripe tomatoes. It went on sale last week, and has been selling "briskly," according to Balducci's v.p. of marketing, Joe Dobrow. It will be available for a limited time at all D.C.-area Balducci's markets and High Noon restaurants, for $6.99.

"Our partnership with Antawn derives from his love of great food," said Dobrow in a statement. "He actually approached us after he and his wife were searching for specialty foods in the D.C. area and stumbled upon Balducci's. Now, with Washington in the NBA playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade, excitement among our customers is high, and we're thrilled to be able to team up with one of Washington's finest and most respected athletes."

Balducci's said it plans to roll out a follow-up promotion with Jamison in the early fall, with an opportunity for several fans to win the chance to meet Jamison and see him play.

Balducci's, which formerly operated under the names Hay Day Country Farm Market and Sutton Place Gourmet, was purchased in November 2003 by a group headed by
Mark Ordan, founder of Fresh Fields, and Bear Stearns Merchant Bank. Shortly thereafter, the company announced that it would reposition all 10 stores under the Balducci's name, with the new tag line, "Food Lover's Market." Balducci's new
flagship store is set to open in New York City later this year.
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