Store: McKim’s IGA
Location: Mount Vernon, Indiana
Manager: Larry Williams
Store size: 10,000 square feet
With lots of larger chain store competition in the area, it seems like we're always combating the false assumption that we're too small to have a good selection of produce. Nothing says high-quality produce like a farmers market, so we decided to play up our local focus with a fall harvest tent sale.
HOW IT WORKS
On the first full weekend of October, we hoist a 20x30 foot tent in the parking lot and stock it with hay bales, pumpkins, and an array of fresh produce, using as much local produce as possible. To create the feeling of a farmers market, we arrange the produce on bales of hay and in harvest baskets. We always make sure that we put a great price on the core produce staples, such as potatoes, corn, onions, and, of course, pumpkins. We advertise the event and send notices to schools and day care centers in the area, and invite local teachers to come in and get a free pumpkin for their classroom. We also have a variety of small pie pumpkins that we give to teachers so that their students can decorate them.
increase in produce sales for the day
event per year
WHY IT WORKS
For Our Shoppers
Brings a Sense of Nostalgia
There is something about shopping outdoors away from the refrigerated cases that just feels more special.
Enjoy Shopping Local
Our pumpkins are from a local grower and we also feature produce from a local orchard. Our customers love having the chance to support their neighbors.
Replicates a Farmers Market
Our town doesn’t have a farmers market, so this event gives our shoppers the chance to shop in a similar environment.
For Our Store
Give Back to the Community
By giving away pumpkins, we have a chance to support the students and teachers in our area.
People often assume that little stores don’t have a great variety of produce available. This event is our chance to prove that this assumption is wrong.
By turning produce shopping into a unique event, our sales go way up for the weekend.
- Start advertising and sending out notifications to schools a few weeks ahead of the event.
- The night before, set up the tent in the parking lot and arrange all your hay bales. We buy the bales for $3.50-4.00 per bale and then sell them for $5.99.
- In the morning, arrange your produce. We put out the same produce as we have inside except for fresh greens.
- Place a table with your cashiers at the entrance of the tent. If possible, be sure that they have a way to accept credit cards and EBT.
Each produce item is discounted individually. Buying in large quantities helps us get the best price.
- Although we haven’t had much of an issue with it, it’s always good to take steps to avoid theft. We secure the produce as well as possible and notify the police department that we are holding the event so that they keep an eye on us.
- If you don’t want to invest in a huge tent, try getting started with just a 10x10 foot tent. If it works, you can keep adding 10x10s, or decide that you want to invest in a larger tent. People love shopping outside!
- Offer the same sales inside and outside. This makes it easier for all customers to take advantage of the deals and helps you spread the word about the sale.
Have a best practice of your own? We want to hear it!