Swiss Farms’ First Franchise Store Opens

Swiss Farms, America’s Drive-Thru Grocer, opened its first franchise store on Dec. 17, with veteran Starbucks and Auntie Anne’s franchisee and a 2010 IFA Franchisee of the Year, John Betz.

The store, which is located at 6 South White Horse Pike, Somerdale, N.J.,  is also Swiss Farms’ first expansion into New Jersey. “I am excited to bring this exceptional and unique shopping experience to New Jersey consumers. We plan to open two additional Swiss Farms stores in Camden County, N.J., over the next 24 month establishing more critical mass in our Jersey side beachhead” stated Betz.

“The store, which boasts a dramatic sleek, award-winning architectural design and iconic fresh farm imagery is built for fast service and selection, and is well positioned against area supermarkets with drive-thru convenience plus supermarket prices without the supermarket hassles,” said Paul Friel, CEO of Swiss Farms Stores.

The store was built by Partners, William & Tony Santora who own & operate A&E Construction Inc. a major construction management firm in the Philadelphia market. A&E Construction also built the new Swiss Farms corporate prototype store in Ridley Park, Pa., which opened in November 2009. And based on its success with customers and employees alike, it became the model for the Somerdale store.

“The Somerdale store embodies a list of elements that capture our joint vision of a world class drive-thru,” said Rocco Fiorentino, president of Swiss Farms Franchising. The Somerdale store boasts 1,600 feet, almost double the size of many current Swiss Farms stores. For faster service, there are two service doors on each side. Equally important there is a by-pass lane on each side. So if the customer is done with their order before the car in front of them, there is no waiting. They just drive by the car in front.

When the customer drives up to the new store they encounter what looks like a glass house: floor to ceiling glass walls on three sides rising vertically 14 feet for maximum visibility. Custom racking systems complement the store with prominent product exposure, including refrigerated dairy and produce display cases. The result of this designed merchandising is that the store’s interior serves the customer from the car, showing them the offerings and even tagging sale prices.

For increased visibility merchandising, the new store has eight 46-inch LCD screens and a large LED pylon sign highly visible from the street. The entire system is integrated to a meteorological site tying the offers to the weather. So they are promoting tea cooler and ice cream when the temperature hits 90; soup and hot chocolate when it drops to 30 degrees. The message also changes by day part promoting breakfast in the morning; “what’s for dinner?” at night.

“With our digital signage we have maximum flexibility in targeting our promotions and we don’t kill a tree in the process. This is very green” said Rob Coldwell, franchise development director for Swiss Farms.

The store offers fresh baked rotisserie chicken with sides of baked potatoes and veggies for a complete dinner-time meal offering. There is also a fresh bakery in store with fresh piping hot artisanal loaves, muffins and cookies. An expanded line of produce is in evidence as well as a line of fresh Swiss Farms dinners.

For more information on Swiss Farms Stores and its new franchise initiative, check out the cover story titled “Fresh from the Farm” on p. 22 of CSD‘s Aug. 2010 issue.

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