Spartan Stores Promote Local Michigan Products

Spartan Stores’ relaunch of its “Michigan’s Best” campaign, which began over the Independence Day weekend, highlights products grown or made in the state or produced by Michigan companies.

That means Great Lake State shoppers will find little blue signs calling out local products at nearly 100 stores under the grocer’s five banners. The signs appear on everything from locally made peanut butter to Raisin Bran from Battle Creek-based cereal giant Kellogg.

“It exceeded our expectations,” Alan Hartline, Spartan’s VP of merchandising, said of the campaign, according to local press reports. After customers expressed their support with letters, e-mails and compliments to store associates, Hartline added, “This year we said, ‘How can we make it bigger and better?’”

Hartline said more suppliers demanded to participate in the campaign this time around. Total participants include 3,000 products and nearly 350 Spartan-owned or supplied stores.

Other retailers, including Grand Rapids, Mich., neighbor Meijer, Inc., reportedly also have had success in highlighting products from Michigan or other locally made wares.

“I think people are looking for more local items,” said Kevin Begin, general manager of Country Fresh in Grand Rapids, owned by Texas-based dairy giant Dean Foods Co. Begin said Country Fresh — which sells milk, ice cream and other dairy products — benefits from the extra promotion when Spartan uses its newspaper ad circulars to promote Michigan’s Best products, often offered at a discount.

“I think it’s a great thing for someone like Spartan Stores that has a high concentration of stores in Michigan to make a connection with the Michigan supplier and Michigan customer,” said Mark Saur, founder of juice maker Old Orchard. “If we are pulling together, hopefully we are bringing a positive light to the state of Michigan.”

Grand Rapids-based Spartan Stores owns and operates 96 supermarkets and drug stores in Michigan and Ohio under the D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare Supermarkets, Felpausch Food Centers, Glen’s Markets and VG’s Food and Pharmacy banners. The company also supplies more than 40,000 private label and national brand products to nearly 400 independent grocery stores.

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