SUTTON PLACE TO OFFER BALDUCCI'S ITEMS

BETHESDA, Md. -- Sutton Place Gourmet, based here, and Balducci's, New York, announced an agreement under which Sutton Place Gourmet will offer more than 100 products from Balducci's signature label collection and salumeria (Italian deli) to customers in its Reston and McLean, Va., stores.A prototype of the store-within-a-store opened last August in Woodbury, on Long Island, N.Y. Sutton Place expects

BETHESDA, Md. -- Sutton Place Gourmet, based here, and Balducci's, New York, announced an agreement under which Sutton Place Gourmet will offer more than 100 products from Balducci's signature label collection and salumeria (Italian deli) to customers in its Reston and McLean, Va., stores.

A prototype of the store-within-a-store opened last August in Woodbury, on Long Island, N.Y. Sutton Place expects eventually to offer the Balducci's line in all 12 of its stores.

The joint venture was begun in time for December holiday sales, which were "excellent" in all three stores where the Balducci's boutique operates, according to Alan Butzbach, vice president of operations for Balducci's, an Italian specialty store located since 1948 in Greenwich Village.

The Balducci boutique concept has a purely Italian persona, and merchandises 100 to 150 stockkeeping units of nonperishables in an area of 200 to 250 square feet. Most of the grocery items are imported, or are Balducci's own recipes, Butzbach said.

Goods include oils and vinegars, risottos, rices, grains, and imported jam from France, under Balducci's label and its recipe, he added. Some of the jam flavors are fig, fruits from Burgundy and creme de barone, a chestnut spread.

The joint venture is a mutually beneficial arrangement between two noncompeting stores, Butzbach said. "After we opened in Woodbury, it took so well that we both felt to push it ahead for Christmas. In late October, we opened in Reston and McLean, with an identical concept, the same setup," he said.

It is 24 linear feet, with a 10-foot refrigerated case for imported meats and cheeses, under an awning signed Balducci's.

Sutton Place workers were cross trained in how to stock and display the Balducci products.