Forget the hearts and flowers, February is Potato Lovers Month for the Idaho Potato Commission, and preparations are already under way for the 21st annual retail display contest, which offers $150,000 in cash and prizes for 2012.
It’s the commission’s longest running promotion, and Seth Pemsler, vice president for retail, said some past winning retailers reported sales increases of 50% and more during the event. For 2012 the commission is giving a free portable iHome iPod docking station to every entrant.
Retailers must design a display that includes fresh Idaho potatoes, an Idaho potato dehydrated product, Mrs. Dash seasonings and Molly McButter products. Special point-of-sale materials are available to help inspire retailers.
Competition categories are based on store size, measured by the number of cash registers. Complete details are available on the IPC website. First place in each of the three size categories is $1,500.
Bryan Bennington, produce manager for Sirna’s Market Deli in Aurora, Ohio, placed third in the small store category last year. He said the store’s display was a kitchen scene with a giant Mrs. Dash balloon cooking potatoes.
“It took up about 20% of our produce space, and it even intruded into our grocery space. Our sales increased by 150%,” Bennington said, according to the IPC contest announcement.