WOMELSDORF, Pa. -- The deli department at Boyer's Supervalu here took merchandising to new lengths on Super Bowl Sunday.
A nine-member team of employees built a 100-foot submarine sandwich in view of customers and then proceeded to sell it by the inch.
"It took us nearly two hours to put it together, but we sold the whole thing in four-and-a-half hours," said Jeffrey O'Neill, store manager.
The sandwich, which contained store-cooked ham, white American cheese, bologna, two kinds of salami, lettuce, tomato, onion and oil and vinegar, was built on 6-foot lengths of bread.
"We cut the ends off the loaves so they'd fit together. It really looked like one long sandwich."
The sandwich "happening" fits in with other action merchandising that characterizes this most recently remodeled unit. Boyer's is a six-unit independent supplied by Minneapolis-based Supervalu's Reading, Pa., division.
The 21,000-square-foot store features a new format that bunches its fresh departments into a food court-like setting and puts emphasis on demos, sampling, and "making food shopping fun." When the store reopened in December after a revamping, two permanent employees were hired to demonstrate products.
The making of the monster sandwich was touted in an ad in a local weekly newspaper and with a sign at the front of the store on Super Bowl Sunday.
"At 50 cents an inch, we didn't make much money, but it was worth it. People loved it. It attracted a lot of attention," O'Neill said. The store was selling the sandwich at about half price, O'Neill added. "We had discussed selling 3-inch segments for $1.99, but decided to just go with the 50 cents an inch to get people in."
"Customer response was great. They were watching us build it before 11 o'clock, and were lined up to buy some of it by the time it was completed. I had one fellow buy a 3-inch section for lunch and come back later and buy 4 feet of it for his Super Bowl party," said O'Neill.
The sandwich was displayed on a "stand" that ran nearly the length of the food court. The stand was constructed of milk crates piled three high and covered with white plastic case liner.
"We had four employees serving the sandwich. When they ran out, the deli made up a couple of subs on 2-foot loaves and some on a round loaf," O'Neill said, adding that there's been a noticeable increase in sales of the deli's regular 8-inch subs since then.