SOUTH OGDEN, N.Y. -- Jubilee Foods put a new spin on meat and seafood departments during the recent remodel of its store here.
els of stores in western and central New York and northern Pennsylvania.
In an attempt to keep up with the pace being set by its formidable local competitors, the company reconfigured its fresh departments and, in some cases, remerchandised, according to John MacIntyre, president of the Buffalo Retail Group.
"We are the third player in town but we're not a Wegmans or Tops -- those guys are amazing," he told SN. "We wanted to be more competitive."
That meant not only adding space, but updating equipment and rethinking product mix, explained Fred Phillips, Jubilee's director of meat and seafood.
"We put in a new two-deck, 20-foot case for our Jumbo Pack value packs, because we wanted to increase our average per person customer sales," he said. "That way we can give them a value and we get the larger ticket ring that we want."
Also installed was a new 60-foot run of multideck meat cases, to which a fifth shelf was added to "reduce air space" between products, giving the case a more well-stocked appearance.
"We're also increasing our lunchables and microwavable meals, because we've got to recapture our business back from McDonald's and Burger King, and also from our own frozen departments," Phillips said. "Many people don't realize how much of our competition comes from within the store."
Jubilee is also expanding its value-added and prepared offerings in the meat department.
"We expanded our oven-ready products, and our case-ready meals-in-minutes products. We've been developing this program for a while internally, and it will include both microwavable fully cooked and ready-to-cook items. We're trying to capture the home meal replacement dollar.
"It's something that's going to continue to develop throughout the year -- this is going to be big."
This category will be sectioned off by banners and dividers within the meat department, he said.
"We just looked at some products like meatloaf already cut and sliced, fully cooked microwavable chicken breast, and a new bake-in-the-bag boneless turkey breast, which comes in an oven-cooking bag with the gravy already inside, and you don't even thaw it, you just put it in the oven [for an hour and a half] and serve."
This emphasis on value-added or prepared products is being extended to the seafood department, which got a 12-foot "new-concept" seafood case during the remodel. The plan is to merchandise oven-ready, by-the-pound breaded products.
"We'll be able to have more products with less shrinkage, such as stuffed shrimps, breaded shrimps, lobster tails, specialty fish fillets and other products. Before, when we tried to put those in with everything else, people thought it was a cheaper product. Now we're able to display a greater variety."
While the look of the service meat department was updated with the replacement of "old deli style" decks with new European style ones, Jubilee wanted to retain the atmosphere of the corner butcher shop.
"The multidecks were from the old-style meat department, but we wanted to be noted as the hometown butcher still. If you do a variety count in our area, we do more cuts and carry some products that our competitors don't any more."
In addition, an increased number of employees behind the counter will result in even better service, he added.
There are two expanded center aisle cases, one that is devoted to smoked meats, and a second that is currently earmarked for increasing sales of grilling meats.
"In that case right now, we have expanded patties for the grill, turkey, chicken, pork, beef and cornish hens. In the fall we'll be switching it over to more turkeys, ducks [and roasting items]."