Big Y Pulls Imus Items

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The fallout from Don Imus' derogatory comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team has reached the grocery aisles. Big Y Foods here is reportedly removing Imus Ranch Foods salad dressing from all of its stores.

"We have discontinued his salad dressing, based on recent issues, just because I think it's been offensive to our customers, and it's the right thing to do now," Big Y v.p. of corporate relations Claire M. D'Amour-Daley told the Springfield Republican.

The retailer recently stopped carrying Imus' salsa and coffee because of poor sales, she added. All profits from the brand, which also offers chips and cleaning products, go to the 4,000-acre Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids With Cancer in Ribera, N.M.

As a result of his remarks, Imus was fired by CBS, which syndicates his radio program. He has also been dropped by MSNBC, which simulcast his show on cable television.

The ultimate fate of his products at Big Y is uncertain, according to D'Amour-Daley. "Sometimes we get a lot of customer requests for products and we'll locate it again," she noted, "but you have to look at what's happening around there and what's been happening with the other major advertisers on his program, that have all been pulling their support."

In other Big Y news, the 65,000-square-foot Big Y World Class Market opening April 19 in Bethel, Conn. will feature the first exclusively full-service fresh meat department in the chain.

All fresh meat, including Black Angus USDA choice beef, Naturewell Natural Beef, Hormel Always Tender Pork, and American Lamb and Veal will be available daily from Big Y's trained butchers. As well as custom-cutting all meats, the butchers will offer cooking suggestions and preparation tips.

World Class Markets provide a broad array of quality and specialty items and time-saving conveniences such as a pharmacy, in addition to amenities like the Express Saving Club. The stores carry various international foods and many local produce items.

Big Y ceated over 200 full- and part-time positions for the Bethel store.

Family-owned and -operated Big Y, one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, operates 57 stores throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.
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