To celebrate May’s Celiac Awareness Month, Stephanie Pose, Retail Dietitian for the ShopRite of Passaic-Clifton in New Jersey held a “Gluten-Free Expo” in-store, May 3-4. To prepare for the event, Stephanie contacted various gluten-free vendors and received support from Schar’s, Bai Beverages, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Bob’s Red Mill, Glutino, Dr. Praeger’s, Bakery on Main, Amy’s, Lisante Almond Cheese, The Real Deal, Love Beets, Hint Water, Bolthouse Farms, and Eat Well Embrace Life Hummus. Vendors provided product to sample, coupons, product literature, and giveaways for the Expo, and Glutino provided raffle ticket entry forms for a free giveaway basket.
Stephanie promoted the event by creating an ad for the store’s circular, as well as local newspapers such as the Clifton Journal and Clifton Magazine. In addition, large banner signs were created and displayed in the front and exit entrance of the store. Stephanie recorded a message to be repeated in the store overhead speakers for approximately two weeks leading up to the event. She dealt with space constraints by setting up a few tables in front of her store’s customer service desk. Each table was decorated with balloons and colorful tablecloths. Approximately 150 customers passed by the tables throughout the entire weekend. Vendors provided enough samples for 150-200 customers.
To measure the results of this effort, Stephanie ran a report of the products sampled, comparing sales for the first weekend of May 2014 to very same weekend in 2013. What did she find? Sales doubled! 2013 sales for products sampled were $806.31 compared to $1,682.74 for 2014. According to Stephanie, “Customer feedback was very positive. They love when we provide expos and festivals. The department managers were also very pleased with the results.”