LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- D'Agostino Supermarkets here has added a Spanish accent to its product mix at three stores in Hispanic neighborhoods in New York City.
In this experiment in micro-
merchandising, which is new for the chain, the retailer is offering perishable items and grocery products geared to the Hispanic market, and is advertising them in the store windows in Spanish on big white signs with green lettering reminiscent of signs hanging in the windows of local bodegas.
"We're trying to market to the community in a more direct way," said Nick D'Agostino, company president, in a brief interview with SN. He said the chain has been developing the concept for six to nine months.
"It's all in the test stage," he said. "If anything, the trick is to do this without alienating the rest of our customer base." Each of the three stores is located in ethnically diverse city neighborhoods with a large Hispanic population.
He said there is a tendency for local residents to shop in the smaller stores and bodegas sprinkled throughout the marketing area of the three stores. Adding the Hispanic products and merchandising is a way to bring in some of that business, he added.
SN visited the three stores recently, which are all located on Manhattan's Upper West Side. At one of the units, at 91st Street and Columbus Avenue, produce greets shoppers at the entrance, with bananas on a step display. A slanted European table held root vegetables, and there were six varieties of bulk dried beans for 59 cents per pound. Plantains were offered at six for $1. There was also chayote squash at three for 99 cents, and aloe leaves for $1.99.
Various tropical fruits were on display, including pineapples, coconuts, mangoes and papaya.
The fresh departments, which ring the perimeter of the stores, included self-service cases of pan Cubano, Cuban-style bread, and Cuban-style sweet pastries. The bread had a price-tag of 99 cents.
The meat and seafood department had a large display of salt cod. In the dairy case, the Hispanic touch was evident with various Hispanic cheeses and tropical-flavored yogurts and brand-name juices.
The store, in addition to a traditional mix of grocery items, also had products geared to Hispanics, including various rices, soda crackers, spices and cereals.
For the last week in July, the three stores together featured pork shoulder at 59 cents per pound, Caribbean snapper at $4.59 per pound, chayote squash at three for 99 cents, a malt beverage at four 10-ounce bottles for $1 and fruit punch at 99 cents for a 64-ounce carton.
The featured items were listed on a handout set out on a shelf next to the chain's weekly ad circular. The handout included two coupons: 25 cents off on Upscale, Christina or Ebony magazines and several Hispanic titles, and President's Choice long-grain riceat 99 cents for a 28-ounce package.