BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Sam's Club here showcased a variety of fresh holiday foods and offered samples to shoppers at all 558 locations as part of its Taste of Sam's Club.
"The annual Taste of Sam's event is our unofficial kick-off to the holiday season and affords our valued membership base the opportunity to sample entrees, appetizers and desserts for party planning needs," said Jolanda Stewart, spokeswoman for Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores. "We offered a variety of foods such as chicken breast stuffed with cranberries, hors d'oeuvres, spiral ham and pumpkin cheesecake." Samples varied depending on location.
Gala apples, fresh- baked New York Style Cheesecake, and Member's Mark cooked shrimp were among more than a dozen items offered at a Sam's Club in East Brunswick, N.J., last month. Though the retailer couldn't comment on the event's impact on sales, Stewart noted the holiday event has gotten bigger over the years.
"We recognize the importance of having the traditional holiday fare including spiral hams, desserts and beverages," Stewart said. "We're also introducing products with a slight twist. This year we have an apple cranberry lattice pie in our bakery which is well received by members."
Although shopping at Sam's is usually limited to members, non-members with a one-day guest pass coupon took part in the tasting events. The coupons, which are good for one day of shopping through Dec. 31, were featured on print advertisements for the Taste of Sam's Club events. Printable coupons were also featured prominently on Sam's Club's Web site, www.samsclub.com, in the days leading up to the event. A 10% service fee applies to non-member purchases.
During the event, seasonal items including gift baskets filled with items ranging from Godiva Chocolates, Hickory Farms sausage and cheeses, mixed nuts and holiday fruits were displayed near sample stations marked by a balloon.
Sam's Club offers a double-your-money-back guarantee for customers who are not satisfied with any fresh item from the store, according to officials.
The retailer's holiday food offerings, including lobster tails, Bryan's cranberry-orange marinated pork loin and frenched lamb rack are featured in the club store's Holiday Treasure Hunt 2005 catalog alongside extravagant gifts including a Hummer H3 Gift cart for $8,998 and an 82-carat diamond wreath necklace for $263,574.
"Sam's Club strives to provide a treasure hunt atmosphere in our clubs so that members may locate new and exciting merchandise upon each visit," Stewart said.
Although the retailer doesn't have any big tasting events lined up for the rest of the holiday season, it will hold smaller demonstrations, Stewart said. On "Black Friday," the club stores offered shoppers a continental breakfast.