By David Bennett, Senior Editor
Shielded from the mid-Ohio sun by a spacious tent erected in the parking lot, the curious and the eager, the young and the old were inclined to participate in the first Consumer’s Choice Contest
The event, sponsored by CSD, featured a number of unique foods and flavors, snacks and beverages provided by suppliers from around the country. Arranged in different categories, the array of products was evaluated on quality, consistency and overall consumer appeal.
Englefield Oil Co., the operator of 123 Duchess Shoppe convenience stores in Ohio and West Virginia, hosted the event at one of its busiest stores, located at 1101 Hebron Road in Heath, Ohio.
ALL UNDER ONE ROOF
Customers who stopped at the Hebron Road c-store to gas up or grab some merchandise soon gravitated to the big, white tent, where they were introduced to lines ranging from microwaveable entrees, candy, gum, salty snacks, meat treats, salsas and condiments.
There were more than 100 SKUs on display, provided by more than 50 familiar retail suppliers. Passing patrons were asked to judge how impressed they were by the various category products.
Provided evaluation forms, clipboards and enough time to sink their teeth into the project, Duchess Shoppe customers rated the samplings on the following criteria: taste, quality, product innovation and the likeness they would but that product in future store visits.
Once all the votes are soon tallied, category winners will be recognized.
Duchess Shoppe touts its commitment to remaining a leader in foodservice, fresh coffee, fast and friendly service and customer loyalty. The c-store proved a suitable background for the contest.
“We try and understand our suppliers business and in turn spend time with the retailer community,” said Tony Bolla, vice president of sales for Convenience Store Decisions. “Today allowed us to better understand Englefield’s customers and their preferences for new products, the response from our vendors and the feedback from consumers exceeded our expectations.”
While vendors will soon learn if they topped the competition, earning a better understanding of consumer tastes is equally important for those involved.
“New products are the lifeblood of this segment and we are committed to being a conduit of information, from any angle and constituent,” Bolla said.