Coral BeachTim Colln of Sage Fruit said retailers reported a big bump in cherry sales when cherries from Sage were promoted with the TV show "The Biggest Loser." He expects similar results with apples. KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Produce companies from Southern California to New Jersey met in the middle for a regional trade show sponsored by Associated Whole Sale Grocers’ Kansas City area division.
Geared toward retailers in nearby states, the one-day AWG show also included vendors for every major grocery department, from floral to meat.
Harold Paivarinta, director of U.S. sales for Kingsville, Ontario-based JemD Farms, said he’s been working with AWG for 14 years. He said even though the company’s Kansas City shows aren’t the biggest in the industry, they are worth the trip.
“They have three shows a year and it gives us a chance to see retailers face-to-face,” Paivarinta said. “The retailers in this region are really progressive, they have unique approaches. They aren’t cookie-cutter box stores.”
Coral BeachHarold Paivarinta of JemD discusses packaging of Red Sun and Golden Sun brand tomatoes with Dave Leiker of Associated Wholesale Grocers. Officials with AWG’s Kansas City, Kan., headquarters cultivate retail customers with that in mind, said Dave Leiker, AWG’s produce director.
That’s one reason the show draws vendors from across the country, he said. More than 660 attendees turned out for the Aug. 22 event, Leiker said.
Produce companies at the show included Albert’s Organics, Bridgeport, N.J.; The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia; Sunkist Growers, Sherman Oaks, Calif.; North Bay Produce, South Traverse City, Mich.; and WP Rawls, Lexington, S.C.
A number of vendors had holiday themes displays, ranging from Halloween through Christmas, with point-of-sale materials Coral BeachJakov P. Dulcich & Sons has point-of-sale materials for its Harvest Hobgoblin grapes themed for Halloween. and suggestions for retailers.
Bill Schraad Jr., president and chief executive officer of Schraad & Associates, Oklahoma City, agreed that the AWG shows in Kansas City are a good place to do business.
He said his representatives used the Aug. 22 event to set the stage for fall sales and promotions through the end of the year.
“We talk specific deals here,” Schraad said. “Vendors, customers and brokers are actually writing orders here today.”
Associated Wholesale Grocers’ clients in the Midwest are an important faction in the customer base of Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce, said Tim Hallows, Mission’s marketing manager for the region.