MINNEAPOLIS — Approximately 750 vendors displayed a huge range of products Feb. 20-21 at the Minneapolis Convention Center during the annual SpartanNash Spring Trade Show.
“The theme for this show was ‘Destination Savings,’” Lance Barrett, merchandising manager of events at SpartanNash in Edina, MN, told The Produce News. “We tried to have a vacation-type theme, so we had each of the departments pick a country and decorate to that theme. The bakery/deli department chose France so they had the Eiffel Tower; the meat department did Italy with the Leaning Tower of Pisa; the grocery department decided to do Great Britain with Big Ben and the Union Jack décor; and the produce department said, ‘Hey, let’s do a market-type event,’ and decided Mexico would be a great country for them because there are a lot of street markets there.”
Vendors displayed in over 250 booths on the show floor, with 397 retail store customers attending the two-day event.
“It’s almost two-to-one vendors to customers, so the customers could be well taken care of this year,” said Barrett. “The vendors really enjoy this because it gives them the opportunity to talk with numerous customers all at one time. In order to talk to 300 customers it would take them forever to go to each one of these stores. But this gives them the opportunity to discuss business with a whole group of customers and sell a ton of merchandise in just two days.”
And this proved to be a two-way street because the retail account customers also appreciated the Spring Trade Show.
“It gives them the opportunity to get out of the stores and experience a lot of merchandising we do here at the show,” Barrett said. “This isn’t just a show to be flashy; it gives the customers ideas about what they can do in their stores. And besides the show floor, prior to the show we have three hours of seminars where our customers get educated on new trends in the industry and all the different things happening, like self-checkouts. The educational aspect of these shows is very important.”
After the show was over, all leftover products were donated to the Twin Cities food bank St. Vincent de Paul.
“Typically, at a show like this we’ll donate between 50,000 to 60,000 pounds of food for local communities,” said Barrett. “St. Vincent de Paul comes and collects it and within two weeks all of this food is out in the food banks around the state. We’re just the conduit for the vendors that donate all of this product to put out for the show and that also helps support our community.”
The next SpartanNash event will be its Fall Trade Show here Aug. 15-16.
“We’re planning a holiday theme,” Barrett said. “But we’re still working on that.”