CARMEL, Ind. -- O'Malia Food Markets here ran a truckload promotion that has got President Danny O'Malia's wheels turning.
Conceived by Ron Williams, bakery director, the promotion, entitled "A different kind of truckload sale," was recently rolled out to the independent's eight stores and featured truck-shaped window containers full of products from the meat, deli, bakery and produce departments.
A white wine promotion that the independent ran a few years ago was the inspiration for this promotion, according to O'Malia. "We had 'a different kind of white sale' for white wine, where we hung wine bottles with clothespins," he explained, noting that promotion had been well-received by customers.
Although the truckload promotion did not quite live up to O'Malia's expectations for it, he said he has plans to fine-tune it for future use.
"This was the first time we ever tried it," O'Malia said. "It should have worked better than it did, but we didn't get the word out to all the department managers.
"The stores that did [participate fully] had nice increases in sales with the various products," he added.
The promotion, which ran for a one-week, Monday to Sunday, cycle, offered customers items in the truck containers in various departments, such as private-label Platter bacon for $1.29 per pound, three deli sandwiches at $8.99 per pound, green beans at $1.29 per pound, and two dozen cookies from the in-store bakery at $2.99, regularly priced at $4.58.
It was advertised in a local newspaper ad that penetrated 250,000 households in the northern half of Indiana, O'Malia estimated.
"It worked very well in the bakery," said O'Malia. "The promotion probably lent itself more to the bakery [products] than other items.
"Produce was the second best
department -- one store did strawberries, and they did grapes," he told SN. "I don't know how well they did with it, but it looked great.
"The meat department was tougher," he continued. "How many meat products will work with that kind of packaging?"
One idea was to offer a combo package featuring hamburger meat, onions and tomatoes, but there was concern that the coated moisture-resistant containers would not be completely leak-proof in this case.
Other ideas generated by Williams included bratwurst or pork chops in the meat department, combo packs of presliced meats and Buffalo Chicken Wings in the deli department, and plums, cherry tomatoes and broccoli and cauliflower florets in the produce department.
Not all O'Malia stores carried the promotion to its full potential, however.
"Two stores had it perfect, a third had it almost perfect and four frankly had it about 50% right," said O'Malia.
"I was disappointed in [displays] at store level but mostly it was because people didn't know about it." He said it was left to directors to get department-level managers psyched up for the promotion.
"Bakery departments did the best because it was Ron's idea. I was disappointed in the delis, because I thought it would do really well there," Omalia said.
"One store had trucks dangling from the ceiling in various departments and it drew you right to them; so next time I'll use that as an example," O'Malia said.
In spite of O'Malia's misgivings about execution, the promotion seemed to go over well with customers.
"The department directors said customers really liked it," O'Malia said. "This was a learning experience. We had a good idea and we knew it wasn't going to increase our sales 20% or anything, but it's the kind of thing people expect from us.
"We'll do better with it next time."
Indeed, O'Malia said the company plans to modify the promotion in time for several upcoming events.
"We'll probably do another one Labor Day weekend. And we may haul the trucks out for the Indy 500 as well -- we do an unbelievable box lunch business for that and the [containers] would work well because people like to have something that's self-contained to take to these things."