Spartan Showcases Products, Shares Strategies to Help Supermarkets Sell

In a bid to help arm its corporate-owned retail associates and independent retailers with innovative ideas and aggressive attitudes amid a challenging and competitive economic cycle, Spartan Stores recently hosted two events aimed at enhancing consumers’ shopping experience and driving sales and profitability.

To that end, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer/distributor presented a Fall Model Store 2009 event that showcased a variety of new products, merchandising concepts and marketing strategies. The theme of the event, “Competing in a Multi-Channel World,” focused on industry trends and the strategies that Spartan is currently employing to compete with warehouse clubs, drug chains, alternative-format stores and other multi-store supermarkets.

“Despite high unemployment, inflation and other challenging trends, opportunities have never been greater for Spartan Stores and our retail partners,” explained Alan Hartline, Spartan’s EVP of merchandising. “The importance of aligning strategies with trends will allow us to not just compete, but [also] to win in a multi-channel world.”

The Model Store event included a motivating presentation by several members of the Spartan Stores leadership team who reviewed strategies that the company has put into action, including initiatives related to differentiation, value and private brands.

Also included in the Model Store event was a tour of the new Family Fare in Kentwood, Mich,. on Kalamazoo Ave. The recently reopened store underwent a $6 million renovation that has resulted in a prototype concept design featuring attractive products displays, demo sampling, bold new signage and a host of creative merchandising and promotional ideas that Spartan retailers can incorporate and use in their own stores. The model store also demonstrates how value-added merchandising strategies and consumer-driven solutions can drive sales.

Spartan Stores — which distributes over 40,000 private label and national-brand products to around 350 independent grocers in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, in addition to its 96 corporately owned Family Fare, Glen’s, D&W Fresh Markets, Felpausch Food Centers and VG’s banners —- also posted record-breaking attendance at its recent Fresh Experience 2009 perishables selling show that took place at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. Among the highlights of the event were bakery and deli departments set with store fixtures that vendors were able to share. Eye-catching produce displays were also in evidence, along with attractive meat and seafood displays. Several breakout sessions were also offered to enable retail customers to gather insight, ideas and information for their own departments.

In addition to booths and displays, other highlights of Spartan’s Fresh Experience included Hot Deals, a cake-decorating contest and a presentation by former NFL MVP quarterback and Super Bowl champion Joe Theismann, who outlined the game plan that brought him success both on and off the football field.

At the conclusion of the Fresh Experience event, Spartan donated all fresh merchandise — over 40,000 pounds worth — to Grand Rapids Feeding America for local and surrounding food banks.
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