HOUSTON -- Rice Epicurean Markets' bulk coffee displays have received an updated look, after the upscale retailer, based here, named First Colony Coffee & Tea Company as the exclusive vendor for all of Rice's gourmet coffee.
Most bulk coffee bins throughout the eight-store chain are situated in the bakery area, where up to 36 varieties are available at any one time, said Scott Silverman, vice president of specialty foods.
The agreement between Rice and Norfolk, Va.-based First Colony was occasion to refresh the entire line -- known to customers as Epicurean Coffee Co. -- with new bags, graphics, signage and even a logo.
The bulk sales area is crowned with a large "menu" board that provides shoppers with a description of the individual coffees available that particular day, as well as their character. Continued under the updated format is Rice's Coffee Club, where card-bearing customers receive a free pound of coffee after making 10 one-pound coffee purchases.
"When we started [the company] 10 years ago, Colony was our first coffee roaster," noted Silverman. "So they're already familiar with how we operate."
The new pact marks a revival of the partnership, he added.
Rice negotiated a combined program agreement, in which First Colony will also supply the chain's whole bean coffee, under both the First Colony and Epicurean Coffee Co. labels. They will be sold in 10- to 12-ounce bags in the grocery aisle, using the same logo and signage found in the bulk sales area.