Small Bites:
December: on being creative
Holiday Sales
Just like you, distributors are looking for opportunity to increase sales. We all know we are stocking our stores for the traditional "holiday" party calendar. Friends & family gather for the next four weeks to enjoy December festivities.

Associated Buyers of NH began expanding their holiday product selections back in the summer to prepare for December sales. Farmhouse Chocolates , of Bristol Vermont are hand-made in small batches & are a featured item for Associated Buyers. (Farmhouse makes GREAT products for staff gift giving too!)

Chocolates can cross-merchandise well in stores of all sizes. Create a display that speaks to your customers' need to bring a gift. Or create displays that feature premium sweets we all enjoy this time of year.
First Impressions
We know first hand the power of marketing has on customers past-present & future. Consider how you are crafting your store to capture the attention of your customers.

What impression are you sharing with the public ? Creating distinguishing characteristics can help drive sales. James Morrell , retail consultant & co-host of the recent Farm to Plate Retail Seminar shares his thoughts in an article on Distinguishing Characteristics. A great refresher with application beyond a produce department

One of his tenets that we encourage is " Ever Fresh, Ever Changing". The basis of this is to stay relevant & vibrant by creating a signature Produce Department that resonates across the store.

Take full advantage of holiday & seasonal events to create promotional opportunities and themes. Be generous in cross merchandising among departments & strive for strong intra-store communication using tools from Farm to Plate.
Ashley has been busy up in St Albans refreshing Rail City Market displays for holiday gift giving. She has found new inspiration since attending the Oct Retail Seminar.
In promoting December gift giving products, bring in some fresh, new items with strong margin capability. Vermont has a number of fantastic body care producers including Dorset Daughters, a micro soap works making premium products. They will direct ship to your store.

Consider rearranging the wide range of products you already have creating themes. Believe it or not, you can clean out slow moving sellers this time of year by bundling compatible products.
Vital Communities hosted a business to business matchmaker event in November. The event brought together buyers & producers to enhance local food sales across the Upper Valley region. With a speed-dating format, relationships were created to enhance a better grasp of local product availability & the needs of buyers. As part of the Farm to Plate Network, Vital Communities regularly engages various ways to connect farmers, suppliers & buyers to build the local food economy. Cheers for the great article featuring this event.
Matchmaker photo credits: Rob Strong

Contact Annie H Harlow for info, support inquiries,
or to share your retail tips!

Funding support provided by USDA & VAAFM