Showstopping displays from coast to coast made for some tough judging in the 2019 Idaho Potato Lover’s Retail Display Contest, which gave out more than $150,000 in cash and prizes.
“We had so many wonderful entries this year for both large and small displays,” says IPC Marketing Manager Jamie Bowen. “It’s always difficult to pick winners, but this year was especially challenging. We love it that so many retailers are creating such imaginative Idaho potato displays, driving sales during what is traditionally a slower time of the year.”
Produce shoppers made it their goal to see the football-themed Idaho Potato Bowl display at Buehler’s River Styx in Medina, Ohio, which won 1st place for the 10+ registers category. Tammy Raber, Produce Manager for the store, has received honorable mentions in the IPC contest for many years, so she was especially delighted to capture the top prize for 2019.
“We’ve done some neat things with the displays over the years, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the job,” she said. “Potato sales always go up during [Idaho Potato® Lover’s Month], and we sell a lot of 10-pounders then.”
At Broulim’s in Shelley, Idaho, a Hormel Bacon Toppings character stole the show surrounded by rows of enthusiastic Idaho spuds, hand painted by the store’s cake decorator. The artwork-filled display, which took 1st prize among stores with 6-9 registers, was a big hit with shoppers too, said Produce Manager Jackie Hanson.
“When I would be out on the floor, it wasn’t uncommon to hear kids say ‘Look, Mom, it’s the theater,’ or someone saying ‘Isn’t that cute?’ about the display,” she said.
The local farming and Amish communities helped inspire the country-themed backdrop for Versailles IGA’s 1st prize display in the 1-5 registers competition. The elaborate display was a team effort from the produce department at the Versailles, Indiana, store, said Produce Manager Bill McRoberts.
“We really enjoy doing it, and we sold a lot of Idaho’s when it was up,” he said.
Hormel Bacon Toppings was a natural choice to partner with Idaho potatoes in the display contest, since “52 percent of consumers use bacon toppings on their potatoes,” said HORMEL Bacon Toppings Brand Manager Corrine Hjelmen. “It’s our fifth year doing the contest, and we are excited about planning the sixth.”
The 2019 retail display contest also included a random sweepstakes drawing for an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Royal Lahaina Resort on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Robert Olin, Produce Manager of Tops Market in Camillus, New York, was the winner. The store’s category manager will also receive a Maui trip for two as part of the Category Manager Match Program.
Retailers competed with other same-size stores in one of three categories: 1-5 cash registers, 6-9 cash registers, or 10+ cash registers. Within each store category, entrants competed for these prizes:
• 1st place—$1,500
• 2nd place—$1,000
• 3rd place—$750
• 4th place—$500
• 5th place—$250
• Honorable Mention—$100 (100 selected from remaining entries)
The Retail Display Contest Category Manager Match Program also awarded equivalent prizes to corporate category managers for stores that qualified for 1st through 5th place prizes. In addition, a free 1.5-liter Toastmaster Air Fryer was sent to everyone who entered.
Each in-store display was required to incorporate clearly marked fresh Idaho potatoes (bag, bulk or both) with a clear label showing the Idaho name and the “Grown in Idaho” seal, an Idaho dehydrated potato product and any variety of Hormel Bacon Toppings. The displays also needed to feature IPC special themed point-of-sale materials: double-sided Potato Lover’s Month logo display signs, double-sided signs with appetizing photos, and inflatable Mylar IPC-branded balloons. Retailers were required to showcase the display in their store’s produce section for at least one week between Jan. 14 and March 15, 2019.