JEWEL HOPES BABY FAIRE DELIVERS SHOPPERS

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Jewel Food Stores, Melrose Park, Ill., played host to an estimated 15,000 shoppers of baby products for the Chicago Baby Faire held this past weekend at the Rosemont Convention Center here.Jewel joined Gerber Products, Fremont, Mich., and Toys 'R' Us, Paramus, N.J., as corporate sponsors for the show, which was a first-time event in the Windy City. Executives at Jewel could not be

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Jewel Food Stores, Melrose Park, Ill., played host to an estimated 15,000 shoppers of baby products for the Chicago Baby Faire held this past weekend at the Rosemont Convention Center here.

Jewel joined Gerber Products, Fremont, Mich., and Toys 'R' Us, Paramus, N.J., as corporate sponsors for the show, which was a first-time event in the Windy City. Executives at Jewel could not be reached for comment.

"One of Jewel's objectives was to communicate with the young mothers and let consumers know about all of the convenient store services and product offerings in their baby aisle," said Kim Whittaker, president of Baby Faire, Winchester, Mass.

As a participating associate sponsor, the chain was given 1,000 square feet of exhibit space and exposure through mass media, billboards, posters and direct mail, said Whittaker. She declined to reveal the cost of being an associate sponsor for the show, which is held in several metro locations each year.

Jewel spotlighted pharmacy as the centerpiece of its exhibit. It also promoted bakery, photofinishing and Peapod, the home-shopping service based in Evanston, Ill. The chain advertised the event in its Nov. 6 circular in the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times as well as through direct mail. The circular reaches 3.5 million consumers.

This was Jewel's first time to sponsor a consumer event of this type, Whittaker mentioned. Star Market Co., Cambridge, Mass.; Stop & Shop Cos., Quincy, Mass.; and Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh, have sponsored past Baby Faires.

The Chicago show featured interactive exhibits and informational displays by some 100 firms offering assorted baby products and services in 100,000 square feet of space.

The show's media partners were American Baby Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, WLS-TV and CD 94.7FM.

"Baby Faire targets products and services for busy mothers," explained Whittaker. At the Boston Baby Faire held earlier this year, for example, 82% of attendees were women between the ages of 18 and 44, 49% of the households had incomes over $50,000, 53% of the women attending were pregnant and 93% had one or more children.

Next year there will be six Baby Faires. Show organizers will be soliciting supermarket chains in new locations in Miami, March 28 to 29, and Atlanta, Sept. 12 to 13, said Whittaker.

"The grocery tie-in has been fantastic," she said. "We're finding more and more supermarkets want to brand their baby aisle and drive consumer business by offering all-inclusive services for added convenience with pharmacy, banking, baby products and food shopping. Supermarkets are becoming more like minimalls."