Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Heeren Bros. unveiled a program, Michigan Grown, in time for the summer 2011 harvests, said Jim Heeren, president. Of the company’s roughly 350 independent retail customers in the Wolverine State, about 150 have incorporated Michigan Grown materials into their point-of-purchase displays, said Allan Girvin, director of sales and marketing.
“This helps customers realize that this is all home-grown,” Heeren said. “As you go around the country, everybody’s on the locally grown bandwagon. Our whole mindset has changed.”
Heeren Bros. created, and trademarked, a logo that features a green stalk and “Michigan grown” against a background of the state’s outline. Retailers have installed shelf signs, channel tags, window slicks and other point-of-sale materials featuring the logo on displays of produce sourced from Heeren Bros., Girvin said.
“We wanted to make it easier for our independent retailers to execute (the locally grown message) on the shelf,” Girvin said. “They’re extremely pleased with it. It’s no cost to them.”
For some of its major customers, Heeren Bros. has incorporated their store names onto the Michigan Grown materials, Girvin said.
Also this year, Heeren Bros. changed its invoicing codes to reflect the large volumes of locally grown products it sells. Instead of seeing just “cucumbers” on an invoice, for instance, customers will now see “Michigan cucumbers” if the cukes come from Michigan, Heeren said.