WILD, WILD WESTERN FAMILY PROMOTION

SEATTLE -- Spring water, apple juice and grapefruit juice are among the beverages Associated Grocers here is featuring in a major stock-up promotion for its Western Family private label.Most members of the retailer-owned cooperative, including Thriftway, Larry's Market, Red Apple Markets, Marketplace Stores and Zuban's Markets, are running the promotion, according to Craig Calton, vice president,

SEATTLE -- Spring water, apple juice and grapefruit juice are among the beverages Associated Grocers here is featuring in a major stock-up promotion for its Western Family private label.

Most members of the retailer-owned cooperative, including Thriftway, Larry's Market, Red Apple Markets, Marketplace Stores and Zuban's Markets, are running the promotion, according to Craig Calton, vice president, Center Store, Associated Grocers.

"The promotion is being received very well," he told SN.

The sale includes savings of up to 50% in numerous Western Family categories, including beverages, canned goods, frozen foods and dry groceries, said Mike Koens, the wholesaler's director of private label.

The goal of the event is to entice consumers to buy half -- and even full -- cases of product. For instance, at Marketplace Stores, Seattle, a case of 16.9-ounce bottles of Western Family spring water was offered for $3.98, according to Bill Young, president and general manager.

Other beverage selections at Marketplace included Western Family apple juice, 64 ounces for 88 cents; and Western Family cranberry juice, 64 ounces, two for $5. Marketplace ran the promotion for one week earlier this month.

Thriftway Stores here aggressively promoted the event in circulars and on its Web site, www.thriftway.com. Thriftway ran a one-week sale beginning Jan. 7.

"Thriftway stores throughout Washington state are celebrating the new year with a huge sale on Western Family products," the site read.

Selections at Thriftway included Western Family vegetables, 13.5- to 15-ounce cans, three for $1, or a half case of 12 for $3.89; and chili with beans, 15-ounce cans, 69 cents each, or a case of 24 for $16.39. Other selections included granulated sugar, 5-pound bags, $1.69; and saltine crackers, 15-ounce boxes, $1.79.

"It's really a stock-up sale, as consumers will get the biggest savings on half- and full-case purchases," Koens said.

The goal of the event is to build store sales and traffic, plus loyalty to the Western Family label.

"Since only Associated Grocers has the Western Family label, this kind of promotion really helps to build [consumer] loyalty," said Koens.

While the private label is regularly priced lower than national brands, promotions like these are critical to its success, said Young of Marketplace Stores.

"Our customers have trust and faith in the [Western Family] label. If we're able to buy items at a discount and pass on the savings to our shoppers, we usually get a good response," he said.