GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Spartan Stores here is hoping to make a dent in teen drug abuse by stocking a line of locally produced soft drinks that deliver a positive message to today's teens.
Spartan stocks Straight Up -- whose mission statement, "Straight Up is being positive and productive and not using drugs and alcohol," is printed on its label -- in about 25 of its member stores, said Gary Evey, a Spartan Stores spokesman.
"This is a good merchandising tool for the stores," Evey said, noting some of the proceeds are being used to sponsor a scholarship program, youth group and lecture series about fighting drugs.
Although Straight Up is a name-brand product, Evey said Spartan is merchandising it through its private-label department, with the help of Enterprise Marketing, the cooperative wholesaler's broker.
"We are merchandising this name-brand product through our private-label department because we wanted to give Straight Up some merchandising assistance and the private-label soft-drink category is one of our areas of expertise," he said.
Evey said some of the stores merchandise Straight Up with displays, while others have placed it in-line on the shelf.
Straight Up is manufactured by Aswan Corp. here, which is named after a city in Africa. Eugene Grady, vice president, told SN Straight Up is targeted to an audience ranging in age from 13 to 25 years.
"We are trying to reinforce family values and we make a note of that on our 2-liter bottles," Evey added.
Grady said Aswan has 10 different flavors in its Straight Up line, and Spartan is stocking five flavors in 2-liter bottles that retail for 99 cents.
The flavors carried by Spartan include Yomi vanilla cola, fruit punch, wild berry, orange/pineapple and Cool Runner, a vibrant green lemon/lime flavor. Since the flavors are unusual, they do not compete against Spartan's private label, but help to broaden the department's offerings, Grady said.