MADISON, Wis. -- The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association here has revamped The ShowPlace, a popular feature of its annual seminar and expo, to put greater emphasis on selling and cross-merchandising.
In fact, The ShowPlace has even undergone a name change to reflect its new persona. It will now be called "The Show & Sell Center" and is aimed at "showing retailers how to sell the total store," according to IDDBA.
Supermarket companies known in the industry for their innovative merchandising have participated in the nearly-year-long planning of the on-the-show-floor feature this year at IDDBA's Dairy-Deli-Bake '99 in New Orleans, June 6-8.
Retailers who volunteered representatives to help with the planning this year include Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y.; H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio, Texas; Tom Thumb, Dallas; Dorothy Lane Markets, Dayton, Ohio; and SuperValu, Minneapolis, Minn. "It's a lot of hard work but we all have a great time doing it. Each year when we send out our call for retailer-volunteers, I promise them the same thing: long hours, hard work, no pay, and lots of fun! And they keep coming back, year after year. And we add new ones," said Carol Christison, IDDBA executive director. "The enthusiasm and creativity demonstrated as they design and merchandise the different areas is unique to our industry. In effect, they're given carte blanche (and an open checkbook) to demonstrate cutting edge ideas, new concepts, and fun merchandising themes," Christison added.
Volunteers from additional supermarket chains, as well as from manufacturers, distributors, brokers and others in the industry, will help set up the 10,000-square-foot Show & Sell Center prior to the show's opening on June 6. They will also prepare the food and will be at the Center to answer questions.
The food selections this year will reflect regional preferences, Christison said.
"One of the new things we're instituting is regional 'flavorites.' That's not a misspelling. Flavorites, is right. This year, the regional flavorites are Cajun and Creole based. As we move the show around the country, we'll pick up on what's new, what's hot, what the local flavors are," Christison said.
This year, crawfish etouffe, gumbo, red beans and rice, and other menu items indigenous to Cajun and Creole country will take top billing.
"Selling the total store" was chosen as the theme for The Show & Sell Center this year because that's the way the customer shops, an IDDBA spokeswoman said.
"The idea is to make it convenient for the consumer to buy multiple meals or multiple meal ingredients or components as well as tonight's dinner," she added.
As The ShowPlace has been in previous years, The Show & Sell Center will be made up of different "stores" or departments that feature particular menu categories. This year, their catchy names will reflect the region just as the menu items do.
Included in the line-up will be: The Big Cheezy, a special cheese display; Our-Buck's, a concept that will show kiosks offering high-margin items such as soup, desserts, coffee-bar beverages; Bubba's Bait & Sandwich Shoppe, featuring specialty sandwiches such as muffalettas; Side Bar Named Desire, featuring salads and grain and rice side dishes; Cajun Country, with "down-home" Cajun and Creole specialties; and Odds & Ends, showing themed endcap displays.
"Retailers' response to The Show & Sell Center (formerly The ShowPlace) has been terrific (in past years). They particularly like the handouts and the resource book that we give away free to attendees. This year, we're expanding that (based on retailer's requests) to include, not only the merchandising ideas, but plan-o-grams, case sets, menus, recipes, and themes," Christison said.