Issue link: http://magazine.progressivegrocer.com/i/723369
28 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | September 2016 we do a lunch bar, and then we also do a dinner bar," says Adkisson. "Lunch business is very big here." Nearby East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and UT, as well as the city's medical facilities, pro- vide a steady stream of hungry midday customers. As for the decision to lead off with the wall of values and deli/bakery, rather than the more tra- ditional produce, Glei notes: "We've got a pretty big café experience in a lot of our stores. It's one of our legacies; customers like it and expect it, so for customers that really want to come in here on the run, and then they can get on out, it really makes it much more convenient." Over at the Cheese Shop — the first added to a Food City location "in quite a while," according to Bishop — all of the artisan selections are cut and wrapped by hand, with blue cheeses, cheddars and the store's hand-pulled mozzarella proving to be particular draws for customers. Express and Local e most noticeable thing about the fresh fruits and vegetables on sale in the Johnson City store is that "the majority of our produce is behind glass doors," as Adkisson points out, attributing that merchan- dising decision to, "of course, energy efficiency, but also the perception it gives the customer. ey recognize that product is fresher." "We just know, even though [customers have] got to reach in the drawer and get the apple and get it out, they're going to get a much better experience with [our] apples, because a lot of retailers display them off refrigeration," adds Glei. Another advantage of the doors, accord- ing to Glei, is a more pleasant shopping ex- perience because they prevent cold spots in the store. "I think a lot of people try to rush through the section because they're cold," he observes. Within the doors, there are some innovative items. Take the new snack cup program, featuring such ready-to-go items as melon slices or raw baby carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. "We've always had cut fruit, but these $2 snack cups have just been phenomenally successful and driving this section," notes Adkisson, as it enables those in search of them "to get actually healthier snacks." en there's the recently introduced Short Cuts program, aimed squarely at "busy families on the run coming in to get a fresh, healthy option for dinner," as Adkisson puts it. "So we've done all the work for them in the store, for a stir-fry or salad toppings." At the time of PG's visit, the packaged offerings include sweet potato slices pre-seasoned with cinnamon, as well as Brussels sprouts and mixed vegetables. Items in the program change seasonally. Shopper reaction to Short Cuts has been sim- ilarly enthusiastic. "Customers are responding to convenience, especially in this store, better than ever," says Glei. Another focus in produce is on local items. "We buy a substantial amount of locally grown," affirms Adkisson. Among those local growers is Scott's Farms, located within 20 miles of the Johnson City store, in Unicoi, Tenn. "ey pro- vide us with strawberries, corn, beans, half run- ners," notes Adkisson. "It's something everybody Store of the Month Food City, Johnson City, Tenn. Pick and Choose The Food City in Johnson City, Tenn., drives trial in its Cheese Shop by offering a Pick 3 promotion: Customers can select any three specially marked packages from among about 25 eligible cheeses and pay $9.99. "Prices on these packages typically range from $3.50 to $5," explains Store Manager Derek Adkisson. "By using our loyalty card, the system will automatically discount the purchase of three cheeses to $9.99 and possibly encourage a shopper to try a cheese they might not have if there wasn't a discount." Asked about the success of the program, EVP of Merchandis- ing and Marketing Dan Glei asserts: "It's growing all the time. It's an idea we've kind of carried from the meat department, actually." Food City runs its well-established Pick 5 promotion there, in which shoppers can buy any five meat items — including some frozen and packaged products — for $19.99. There's also a Pick 5 program in produce, enabling customers to purchase five packages of fruits or vegetables for $7.99. Further, in the beverage alcohol section, Glei points to the highly successful Pick a 6 promotion, which allows customers to create their own 6-pack of various craft beers for $9.99. "You don't know the beers and you don't want to invest in a whole 6-pack, you can get one of each, and take it out and try it, basi- cally for the price of what a normal 6-pack would be," notes District Manager Rick Bishop. Customers are responding to convenience, especially in this store, better than ever." —Dan Glei, EVP of marketing and merchandising C h EESE S tan DS a L on E t he Cheese Shop, coordinated by n atasha Mitchell, offers hand-cut and -wrapped artisanal items.