One of the aims of the tour is to let convention attendees see how seriously independent retailers take produce, Holzkopf said.
“We want to show it’s not just the big guys who are supporting the produce industry.”
Shop and Save’s Archer store, which stocks about 600 fresh produce items on a daily basis, is located just ten minutes from the terminal market, and many market workers stop at the store on the way home, Holzkopf said.
The chain’s produce team is what Holzkopf calls a “one-two punch” of himself and Patrick Morales, a buyer who walks the market every day.
Part of Shop and Save’s success, Holzkopf says, has come from catering to local residents. In the case of the Archer store, that means a largely Polish customer base. The store makes sure its produce department features plenty of cabbage, beets and carrots to satisfy that clientele, Holzkopf said.
Locally grown is another big produce category for Shop and Save. Michigan peaches and Illinois and Wisconsin sweet corn are just a couple of the many big summer sellers at the store, Holzkopf said.
In addition to leading the retail tour, the company’s first for a convention, Holzkopf looks forward to attending Midwest Produce.
“Last time was the first time we went to PMA, and we’re at the point where we’re trying to learn more and more about the industry in general,” he said.