CLEVELAND -- Retailers here rang in the holidays with an aggressive bid for the dollars shoppers were putting into entertaining.
During a tour of operators in the Cleveland area, most retailers' dreams seemed filled with thoughts of party platters, turkey dinners and relish trays. Elaborate brochures, delivery service, "800" numbers and the promise of individual attention were universally available.
Riser Foods, based in Bedford Heights, Ohio, advertised itself as "Cleveland's Favorite Holiday Food Store" in one 23-page brochure. Riser's Stop-n-Shop stores promised a perfect party, with everything from fully cooked ham dinners to finger sandwiches to floral arrangements.
Riser seemed to bank on its reputation as a "neighborly" connection. "Everyone knows, and has come to expect, that 'something extra' from the folks at Stop-n-Shop because every store owner is a local resident, sensitive to the traditions and expectations of the people who shop at their store and keep them in business," according to the brochure.
The fare at Riser included party trays, a range of meat selections and appetizers. A "Lite 'N Healthy Tray" and a deluxe party tray were both $3.49 per person, with a minimum of 10 people per order. Turkey and ham dinners were available. Shoppers could also create their own dinners, with options that included stuffing, yams and apples, meatballs, chicken wings and calzones. Super Kmart stores offered "all the makings for a great party," according to one ordering guide available at the entrance of a Montrose, Ohio, unit.
A coupon for a free loaf of crusty onion-rye bread was available with the purchase of any party tray at Super Kmart.
Appetizers started at $6.95 for a rye and dip tray that serves 10. Seafood trays, including a super shrimp tray, a peel 'n eat shrimp tray and a crab snack tray, ranged in price from $15.95 to $49.95. Meat and cheese platters, party sandwiches and salads were available, along with fully cooked dinners. A roast turkey dinner topped out at $69.95 for 25, which included dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and dinner rolls.
Finast, based in Maple Heights, Ohio, also positioned itself as the caterer of choice, with delivery service and a holiday hotline featuring an "800" number.
"Here at Finast, the tastes and traditions of the holiday season are our specialty," read one handout. "Whether you're planning an elegant dinner party or cozy get-together, we're sure we can help with all the details."
At Finast, appetizers started at $7.99 for an eight-person "vegetable lover's choice tray," and range in price to $74.99 for a 20-person "captain's platter," with 100 jumbo cooked peeled and deveined tail-on shrimp and cocktail sauce.
Finast's offerings encompassed some trendy items, from comfort foods like country fried chicken to a "lite" tray of lower fat meats and cheeses.
Upscale pizzas were also an option, along with the complete turkey dinner. Finast also offered help with the beverages, from table wines to liquors to beers and ales. Heinen's, in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, didn't limit itself to holiday meals. "Fine Foods, Glorious Gifts," read the 11-store chain's brochures, which included everything from carved watermelon baskets to shrimp trays to wedding cakes. "Heinen's Corporate Chef Catering specializes in upscale, quality meals delivered to your place of business or to your home" read one brochure, which featured a picture of the catering staff.