Stop & Shop Named Apple Merchandiser of the Year

Stop & Shop has received National Apple Month's 2008 Apple Merchandiser of the Year award. Apple industry members nominated the chain, which has more than 360 stores in the Northeast, based on the high level of merchandising and promotional support it gives apples and apple products throughout the year, National Apple Month director Kay Rentzel said. One industry source that nominated

QUINCY, Mass. — Stop & Shop here has received National Apple Month's 2008 Apple Merchandiser of the Year award.

Apple industry members nominated the chain, which has more than 360 stores in the Northeast, based on the high level of merchandising and promotional support it gives apples and apple products throughout the year, National Apple Month director Kay Rentzel said.

One industry source that nominated Stop & Shop for the award said, “This company offers their consumers excellent produce displays that are attractive and informative.”

Another said, “Stop & Shop provides customers with only the finest-quality apples and does an outstanding job of merchandising their apples on refrigerated displays. They are an excellent industry partner.

“They consistently advertise apples and apple products throughout the year, and they support merchandising programs, vendor coupons and cross-merchandising opportunities.”

After the award was announced, SN spoke with Stop & Shop's vice president of produce sales, Domenic D'Antuono, about the chain's apple merchandising strategy.

“Apples are extremely important, for a couple of reasons. First, they are the signature item of the fall fruit lineup, and they create an image of fresh fall fruit for our customers. So we merchandise and advertise them aggressively,” D'Antuono said.

The chain, which carries about 12 varieties during peak season, sees demos — especially of new varieties — and cross-merchandising as paramount in keeping sales growing.

“We will demo apples like Honeycrisp to introduce them to customers who have never tried them before,” D'Antuono said.

“And we encourage our stores to cross-merchandise cheese, apple pies and other related items within our apple displays.”

Stop & Shop is the seventh recipient of the Apple Merchandiser of the Year Award. Previous recipients were A&P, Publix, Sweetbay Supermarkets, H. E. Butt Grocery Co., Wegmans and Meijer.

National Apple Month presented the 2008 National Apple Month Merchandiser of the Year Award to Stop & Shop's D'Antuono; Raquel Jordan, apple buyer; and Stephen Santos, apple merchandiser. Representing the apple industry at the presentation were Mike Accetturo, Rainier Fruit Co.; Chuck Andola and Dean Decker, United Apple Sales; and National Apple Month director Rentzel.

The $1,000 charity award was presented to the Stop & Shop Family Foundation.

National Apple Month is a financially self-supporting program of the U.S. Apple Association, funded by sponsorship revenue and voluntary membership dues.