FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Add Hyde Park Markets to the growing list of retailers who are experimenting with sushi.
The chain began offering sushi in the seafood department of its Las Olas Boulevard store here June 1.
"We put it in the one store on a test basis," said Bill Poindexter, meat and seafood merchandiser.
If the experiment is successful, there are plans to expand distribution to other stores as well, he said.
So far, the outlook is good. "It has performed beyond my wildest dreams," he told SN. "[The sushi] does more sales than the rest of the seafood department -- it's 2.5% of the total store sales."
Hyde Park Markets would probably choose Miami as the next target market for sushi, he said.
Packaged in units of between 8 and 12 ounces, the sushi is displayed in a self-service refrigerated coffin case adjacent to the meat and seafood self-service aisles, said Poindexter. AFC Corp. of Long Beach, Calif., is the supplier.
"We hooked up with AFC, and they do a self-inclusive program, which means you basically just give them the space and they do the rest.
"I think some [components] of the products are [shipped] frozen and then the rest are sourced locally."
Poindexter began to pursue the idea of carrying sushi through conversations with fellow merchandisers. "I was involved in a share group, where I was talking with other retailers in other parts of the country. We decided that it could work for us too, and [the Los Olas store] was the perfect test market."