BELLE VERNON, Pa. -- Not everyone can make it to next week's Food Marketing Institute show in Chicago, but independent store operators who visited the Supervalu Pittsburgh Division's Spring Selling Show got a taste of what it's like.
Retailers attending the Selling show, which was held in the 60,000 square-foot Monroeville Expo Mart, got to sample the latest in Center Store products, including potato chips cooked in olestra, a new baby-care destination department, new beverages and what are expected to be the hottest-selling candies in the upcoming Halloween season.
"We tried to create some of the excitement of the FMI show. We weren't just selling products; we were selling ideas and a way of doing business," said Bill Overman, vice president of merchandising for Supervalu's Northeast Region.
Cheryl Robertson, regional communications manager for Supervalu, said one of the highlights of the show, held last month, were potato chips made with olestra.
"We gave people the opportunity to sample the fat-free potato chips before they were on the market in our area. We did some taste testing of fat-free versus regular chips," she said.
Robertson said over 450 people attended the show, visiting over 60 vendor exhibits, in addition to Supervalu-sponsored exhibits such as a booth promoting its private-label products, new web site, retail systems and store design team.
"Typically our spring show is not as big a show as in the fall because the fall show has all of the holiday items. For us to have this large a turnout, we considered it to be a great success," she said.