KASH N' KARRY STARTS SECOND CARD, PARTYWARE 'CELEBRATION'

BRANDON, Fla. -- Kash n' Karry Food Stores, Tampa, Fla., has expanded its Celebration Station destination greeting card and partyware prototype to a new store here that opened June 18.Supplied by Gibson Greetings, Cincinnati, the 180-foot-long section is one of Kash n' Karry's signature departments in the 65,000-square-foot unit. It offers a wide assortment of social expression and partyware products,

BRANDON, Fla. -- Kash n' Karry Food Stores, Tampa, Fla., has expanded its Celebration Station destination greeting card and partyware prototype to a new store here that opened June 18.

Supplied by Gibson Greetings, Cincinnati, the 180-foot-long section is one of Kash n' Karry's signature departments in the 65,000-square-foot unit. It offers a wide assortment of social expression and partyware products, with related items merchandised together in five small boutiques. The department also reflects Gibson's new merchandising direction, unveiled at this year's Food Marketing Institute Convention, to create a "theme park-like card shopping environment."

Kash n' Karry unveiled its first Celebration Station last month in a remodeled Tampa store.

Celebration Station is configured into a solutions selling approach, with products merchandised by subsegments: Wedding, Adult, Baby, Inspirational, Kid's Stuff (Juvenile). For example, items related to a baby, like cards, wraps, and gifts such as teddy bears, refrigerator magnets or photoframes and gift bags, are all grouped in the same area. Assorted cards and partyware for a retirement party with an Over-the-Hill theme are grouped under the adult section. Gifts are priced under $10.

Each subsegment boutique area that takes up 4 to 6 feet of space is clearly defined with signs. The 4-foot baby set, for example, contains 2 feet of cards, 1 foot of wraps and 1 foot devoted to gifts.

Designing the card department by subsegments replaces "one boring, unbroken run in some supermarkets where wrapping paper is at one end, gift bags are at the other and cards all over. We've pulled those all together," said Pete Gaietto, Gibson's director of retail environment.

"This condenses the consumers' shopping to a minimal and is easier than running to both ends of the card aisle," he added.

According to Ron Dennis, the chain's president, the new card and party goods format, which is located at the front alcove of the store, ties in with a large bulk candy shop that's adjacent to the card department.

The bulk candy shop, containing about 300 to 400 varieties of bulk selections, is in a presentation similar to mall candy shops and is sure to attract heavy traffic into the card and partyware area, said Dennis.

"Frankly, it's where we got the idea for a bulk candy store. You go to the malls and these [candy] stores are packed all the time," explained Dennis.

Kash n' Karry's bulk candy shop carries an extensive line of Jelly Belly candies. The first store "is a huge success," added the executive. Dennis, however, declined to comment on further expansion plans for Celebration Station.

Party supplies including party favors, balloons, hats, plates, cups in the set are sourced from Nation Mark, Dallas, in a strategic alliance with Gibson, Gaietto said.

Stores with the Celebration Station carry 24 feet of partyware, compared with other stores that "have from zero to a very limited selection," said Dennis. Regular card sections in the chain average about 106 feet.