AKRON, Ohio -- West Point Market here curries its stand-out status with new or unique products and ideas it brings back from the fancy food shows each year.
"We've been going to the shows for the past 40 years. It gives us a chance to find products of the type that can differentiate us in our market and enhance our profit opportunities. Also, the shows are held in major cities so it gives us the opportunity to visit other stores to see what they're doing," said Russell Vernon, president of the single-unit, family-owned operation.
This year, SN asked Vernon to share the Top 10 choices he and his buyers spotted at the Fancy Food Show in New York last month. Actually, they all bring back their own top choices, Vernon said.
"Then we sit down at the office and sample, discuss and defend our selections. The criteria for our purchasing the products include their quality, value, exclusivity, cross-merchandising opportunities, packaging, price, and their entertainment or theater value," Vernon said.
Here are the winners along with comments from Vernon:
1. Les Cygnes Belgian chocolates. "Selected for their top quality (silky texture and high cocoa butter content), exclusivity and a price that will allow us to sell them at a price under $30 a pound."
2. Nancy's Hudson Valley Camembert. "An award-winning American artisan cheese that offers exquisite flavor and a buttery finish. Also exclusivity."
3. Cape Wickham double brie. "A gold medal winner from Tasmania, Australia. It has 60% butterfat, thick and creamy. Never before seen in America."
4. Great Hill Blue. "Another American classic cheese from Massachusetts."
5. Oaties. "A small oatmeal cookie from England, which will be exclusively ours in two sizes. Good packaging, great taste at a reasonable price."
6. Garlic Sauccison en Croute. "Delicious in stews, soups or with cheeses. Versatile, allowing cross merchandising, with a show-and-tell factor."
7. Maple-Cured Cornmeal Bacon. "My family used to bring this back from Canada. Unique look, versatile, great taste and wide appeal."
8. Wacked Out Crunchies. "A new cracker to go with our cheeses. A volume item with wide appeal and an easy price in seven flavors."
9. Olives stuffed with feta cheese. "A party item for cocktails to accompany cheese and put into salads."