WILD OATS' 'BIG CHILL' MADE BIG SPLASH

BOULDER, COLO. -- Wild Oats Markets here reports success with the most recent of its monthly events, the July "Big Chill," held on Sat., July 26. It featured many frozen or cold items, and summer salads, said spokeswoman Sonja Tuitele. Some stores had dunk tanks, dunking store associates, to lend a carnival air."Based on their community and their physical layout, the stores can do a variety of things

BOULDER, COLO. -- Wild Oats Markets here reports success with the most recent of its monthly events, the July "Big Chill," held on Sat., July 26. It featured many frozen or cold items, and summer salads, said spokeswoman Sonja Tuitele. Some stores had dunk tanks, dunking store associates, to lend a carnival air.

"Based on their community and their physical layout, the stores can do a variety of things with this event," Tuitele said. "It's been successful and a way to be light-hearted and beat the summer doldrums that retailers may experience."

She said there was a good deal of interest on the part of local media, which covered the events. Wild Oats offered recipes and advice for cold soups like gazpacho, which is now posted on its Web site.

Storewide samples included veggies, fresh juice and tropical fruits. Tuitele visited one of the chain's stores here, and found the staff making ice cream sandwiches using fresh-baked cookies.

Stores typically held lectures on how to keep properly hydrated, and gave sunscreen demos in the Natural Living department. "We try to make it a storewide event," she told SN. They had grilling Burgers For a Buck, with proceeds donated to a local nonprofit. "We give them ideas of what to sample and the names of local nutritionists and recipes, but they can use their creativity," Tuitele said, down to all-natural bug sprays, useful for camping and lawn parties.