VALLEJO, Calif. -- Save Mart, Modesto, Calif., has captured the Oscar of frozen foods: a Golden Penguin.
The National Frozen Food Association, Harrisburg, Pa., recognized the Save Mart store here for Best Overall Store Effort for a promotion that linked frozens to Mare Island, a local naval shipyard that closed March 31.
The shipyard, which operated in the community for more than 100 years, was a casualty in the rash of recent military base closings, said Mike Silva, store manager. The Mare Island/National Frozen Food Month promotion had a positive effect on both store and company sales. The store increased frozen food sales by 3% during the month of March. The chain, meanwhile, realized a 6% increase, according to Silva.
Silva said a Save Mart employee, Jan Calahan, came up with the idea to link the closing to National Frozen Food Month in March.
"This year's theme [Leading the Way] tied in perfectly with the naval shipyard," said Silva. At the shipyard closing ceremony, he added, Save Mart promoted NFFM at its booth.
"We have coffin cases, and we made a big ship out of them," Silva said. "We took PVC piping and built the mast and put the sails on it." The store also displayed pictures of Mare Island that it borrowed from the local museum.
Save Mart also drew attention to its NFFM promotion with specials on frozen foods. "There were items from the Northern California Frozen Food Council," said Pat Brooks, Save Mart's frozen food director.