Supermarkets with significant Hispanic demographics celebrated La Fiesta Patrias, or Mexican Independence Day, with strong Center Store promotions.
Certified Grocers of California, Los Angeles, co-sponsored an all-day fiesta at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum the day before the Sept. 16 holiday. The event included Hispanic music, Mexican food demonstrations, coupon handouts, games and food. Center Store products were among the items demonstrated.
Participating stores at the fiesta distributed about 75,000 free tickets to a concert, which was also supported with advertising on two Spanish-language radio stations, according to Larry Rice, Certified's retail advertising specialist. In-store, about 150 Certified stores touted specials in their circulars and displayed items at store level, Rice said. Specials were continued through fall and supported with point-of-purchase kits, window signs and shelf-talkers.
"This is a bigger holiday than Cinco de Mayo for people from Mexico," said Rice. The holiday commemorates the Mexican revolution against Spanish rule.
Items featured in the store and sampled at the Coliseum included Mott's Clamato; Domino sugar; Kellogg's and General Mills cereals; cleaning products, such as Suavitel fabric softener and Fabuloso liquid cleaner, which are targeted at Hispanic shoppers; Best Food mayonnaise and salad dressings; La Pina Flour; Mazola corn oil; Reynolds aluminum foil; V-8 vegetable juice; Kerns nectars; Betty Crocker pancake mix; and Squeeze-It bottle drinks, specially packaged in 12-packs marked with a Mexican Independence Day label. Handy Andy Supermarkets, San Antonio, also celebrated Fiesta de Patrias with sales and with in-store demos.
"We had demos on Hispanic soda water, mineral water, jalapeno dips and menudo [beef tripe]," said Lupe Anguiano, grocery buyer.
Between seven and 10 demos ran in each of the stores during the weekend before the holiday, according to Anguiano. A full-page newspaper ad on Sept. 14 featured about 12 Hispanic products.
"We have about 200 temporary price reductions [at this time of the year]," Anguiano said. These TPRs can run anywhere from eight to 12 weeks, depending on the vendor. For the holiday week, Handy Andy usually experiences between a 12% and 15% increase in business.
Several independent chains in California also ran large promotions for the holiday, including 32nd Street Market, Los Angeles; Big Saver, Los Angeles; and El Tapatio Markets, Maywood, Calif.
According to Steven Soto, president of the Los Angeles-based Mexican American Grocers Association, the independents advertised picnic items -- such as beer, soda, fruit punches, napkins and paper plates -- to bring people into the stores, and then further increased their sales by offering cross promotions with meat or produce as "manager's specials."