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Kowalski's Holds 'Local Days'

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Kowalski’s Markets held its annual “Celebrate Local Flavor,” storewide events on two consecutive Saturdays this month, drawing even bigger crowds than last year, and pushing sales up significantly.

“Our Local Days get better each year, with more local vendors participating and more customers visiting our stores,” Terry Bennis, vice president, of perishables operations, told SN.

The 10-unit independent is known in its community for cultivating local sources, small as well as large. At least 40 of those vendors were represented at each Local Day this year. Half the stores celebrated “local” on July 21; the other half on July 28.

“We’ve been doing Local Days for quite a while, but in the last four or five, we’ve pumped up our efforts,” Bennis said.

This year, at least 25 sampling stations at each store demoed products ranging from grilled, Thousand Hills brand, grass-fed beef to a new, local, hydroponically grown tomato variety, “Bubba,” offered on a slice of store-made, fresh mozzarella, with local, fresh basil.

Those were topped off with a drizzle of Kowalski’s own brand balsamic vinegar.

“One of the best things about these events is we’re showing customers how to use products. It’s not just a tasting, but when you can put, for example, Lucille’s [brand] local jam on a locally made cheese on a locally made bread or cracker, it’s better, and that’s what we do.”

A grandfather and granddaughter team presented their own pesto on a locally made flat bread.

“Everybody wanted to meet them,” Bennis said. “There’s an emotional connection when customers meet our suppliers face to face and get to talk to them.”

Bennis added that the Local Days produced — as they have in the past — a significant lift in impulse sales, and that lift continues for several days afterward.


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