MALVERN, Pa. -- Acme Markets here has turned soft drinks into a destination category with a new "Pop Shop" department that houses soft drinks, bottled water, New Age beverages and snack foods.
The 600-square-foot section showcases soda via large pallet displays. Cans and bottles are also displayed on perimeter shelves. Snacks are featured in the center of the department and along two perimeters, one of which is devoted to club-size packs.
Officials at Acme did not return telephone calls seeking comment, but one of the chain's suppliers said the concept looks like a hit.
"The results have been great. We get more inventory on the floor on our best sellers," he told SN.
Acme, a division of American Stores Co., Salt Lake City, currently operates three Pop Shops in New Jersey: two in the south in North Cape May and Medford, both of which opened in the latter part of last year; and one in Voorhees, which debuted last month.
The Voorhees Pop Shop is in the rear left quadrant of the store, across from the dairy department. To draw attention to the segment, photos of sports figures dangle from a suspended white lattice.
To celebrate the grand opening of the Voorhees store Acme featured a 24-pack of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi or Mountain Dew for $2.99, a $2.70 savings. Two-liter bottles of Coca-Cola products were featured at 69 cents. In its circular Acme touted the Pop Shop as "a whole section devoted to snack & soda variety! Plus, save more with our 'Everyday Low Soda Prices!' Week in, week out you won't pay more+Sale prices EVERYDAY!"
"We see the Pop Shop as a way to get our brands a better showcase so we can get more inventory. It brings a lot of excitement back into the category," the supplier said.
He noted that while stores with the Pop Shop carry the same number of stockkeeping units as traditional Acme stores, the department emphasizes the best-selling brands and package sizes. Aisle openings on both ends of the department eliminate congestion and make it more airy and easier to shop.
"Acme takes the best-selling 2-liters and 12-packs and drops the pallets on the floor. It kind of gives the dimension of being a good value and lots of product," the supplier said.
Industry powerhouses Coca-Cola and Pepsi are typically in the center of the department, although their six-packs and 20-ounce bottles are merchandised on perimeter shelving. Soda brands from smaller manufacturers are also merchandised on the shelving.