A bike shop. A car dealership. A clothing store.
While these aren’t typical supermarket business alliances, each is D&W Fresh Market’s health and wellness partner. D&W, Grand Rapids, Mich., is a SpartanNash banner.
“We’re partnering with like-minded businesses to deliver our health and wellness message,” said Margaux Drake, D&W Fresh Market’s Living Well Lifestyle Expert.
Such partnerships give D&W exposure to a new group of consumers, said Drake.
“These companies are getting access to our customers, and we are getting access to theirs,” she said.
When Drake was hired about one year ago, her main responsibility was to host in-store health workshops. And while she continues to do that, she now has become a liaison between D&W and the community. She reaches out to area businesses to form co-sponsored events.
Some events take place at D&W stores. In November, for instance, D&W teamed with the Grand Rapids Bicycle Co. for a free spin class in the parking lot of one of its stores. The bike shop provided the equipment. A DJ was brought in to provide music.
A local car dealership, Fox Motors Delta Subaru, was also part of the event. It showcased a Subaru equipped with a bike rack. The dealership awarded gift certificates for a year’s worth of free car washes.
“It was a big success,” said Drake. “People have been talking about it ever since.”
D&W recently built on its relationship with the bike company by sponsoring its bike club. The D&W logo will be emblazoned on the back of the bikers’ riding jerseys. Drake will make appearances at the bike store, offering refreshments and health information.
Partnering with noncompeting community businesses enables D&W to reach customer who may not currently shop D&W, said Drake.
“We’re casting a broad net around health and wellness customers that may not be ours yet,” she said.
Drake has also made herself known off premises. She attends business and community events to explain D&W’s commitment to health and wellness. For example, she recently visited Gazelle Sports, a healthy lifestyle clothing and equipment store, where she hosted a “Happy Hour” featuring fruit-infused water.
She can also be found at community walks and 10k runs, where she works the “D&W Fresh Market Re-Hydration Station.”
“D&W wants to be the resource for health and wellness solutions,” she said.
D&W’s wellness co-sponsorships make sense at a time when many supermarkets don’t have the scale to compete with large national chains on price, said Jim Hertel, managing partner at Willard Bishop, Barrington, Ill.
By partnering with a local business, as opposed to a big national company, D&W makes it known that it wants to be part of the community, Hertel said.
At the same time, the effort makes D&W more appealing to younger, more health-minded consumers, Hertel added. As this demographic group gains more clout, retailers need to show they appreciate their likes and interests, he said. Health and wellness partnerships like the ones D&W is creating can help achieve this.
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