CARTERET, N.J. — Pathmark Stores leveraged Paula Deen's star power with a store promotion that featured a personal appearance by the celebrity cookbook author and TV personality.
Deen's scheduled visit to the retailer's Edgewater Commons store attracted a crowd of 400 to 500 people who were eager to see Deen and get an autographed copy of her latest cookbook, “Paula Deen Celebrates!” As they waited in line for a chance to meet Deen, shoppers got to sample her signature pineapple upside-down cake, which was prepared by associates from the in-store bakery.
“She's very personable,” said Oren Davis, vice president of deli and bakery for Pathmark. “She took a bit of time with each customer when they came through the line. She took pictures with people. We saw people coming buying three and five books at a time. She would sign for their mothers, sisters” and other family members.
In addition to selling more than 300 copies of the cookbook, Pathmark enjoyed a boost in sales of specially priced Smithfield products in the meat, deli and dairy departments. Smithfield Foods sponsored Deen's appearance, as part of the company's partnership agreement with the celebrity cook. Last year, Smithfield, the leading processor and marketer of fresh pork, processed meats and gourmet food products, and Deen announced their plans to work together to promote family dinners — and Smithfield products.
At a media event in New York last year, Deen said she's relied on Smithfield foods for years and trusts the brand.
“I wanted to partner with someone with the same morals, the same love of family and the same pride in their product,” said Deen, who hails from Savannah, Ga.
For Pathmark, Deen's appearance was a first-of-its-kind promotion. Pleased with the response, officials talked to Deen about bringing her back for another in-store event, Davis said.
“We are working on it right now,” he said. “We know our customers thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”