SPOKANE, Wash. -- Shoppers in the grocery aisles of Rosauers Supermarkets here are in for a fresh surprise.
The retailer has added a refrigerated case that contains precut produce and salad dressings at the end of an aisle that contains shelf-stable dressings and other condiments. Bill Haraldson, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the 16-store chain, said it was the first such unit to be used by the company for produce and, so far, it has been "working well."
So well, in fact, that as the company builds new stores -- the next is slated to open in the summer of 1995 -- the refrigerated units will be included in the plan. It will also add the units to two remodels planned for later this year, he said. And if funding permitted, they would probably be added to all the stores. But, said Haraldson, "we are a pretty small company with limited funds and it will depend on what our priorities are."
The grocery aisle containing the refrigerated unit, which is approximately 10 linear feet, is located near the produce department situated along a wall in the company's newest store, which opened in Lewiston, Wash., in November. The unit currently carries precut salads and refrigerated salad dressings.
"We have located that aisle adjacent to the produce department so that all of these kinds of related items" are near each other, said Haraldson.
Haraldson said removing the refrigerated salad dressings from the traditional produce cases created a better visual display in the produce department.
"We used to carry the refrigerated dressings on the produce rack and if you would look down along the produce rack, it would be a nice line of sight and then it would drop down to the dressings," said Haraldson. "So the new case, which enabled us to take the dressings out of the produce area, has allowed us to keep the line of sight and product up high."
The produce department also includes a produce service island for precut fruit and fresh squeezed juices. But the bagged precut salads are only merchandised in the grocery aisle case.
With more and more suppliers introducing precut and bagged produce items, said Haraldson, he believes the future looks good for the category.