Store: Port Kennedy SUPA IGA
Location: Port Kennedy, Western Australia
Owner: Ike Abdulla
Department: Whole Store
Store Specs: 3,400 square feet
Every year, I run a school excursion where we take about 70 kindergarteners through each department in the store, teaching them where the different foods come from and how to choose healthy eating options.
We have spot prizes to keep the kids on their toes and make the experience more exciting (we keep it simple with naturally sweetened lollies). At the end of the tour, each child chooses a healthy snack, pays for it at a dedicated checkout, and then donates the leftover change to a local charity. This activity helps the kids learn the value of money, how to make healthy eating choices, and how to give to others. We have been running this program with a local Catholic School for about six years and it has become an annual event for them.
I love doing the event for the kids, and it draws awareness to the store. There is almost a three to one ratio of kids to parent chaperones, so if I have 90 kids come through, there are at least 30 adults with them who receive a personal tour of the store and get to know the owner. In the nearly six years we have been running this program, we have built a strong loyalty with those parents whose kids have come through the store.
Why it Works
For Our Shoppers
Shoppers love it. The shoppers who witness the excursion coming through the store absolutely love the concept.
Demonstrates community spirit. It shows that the owner promotes a warm community feeling.
Parents learn about the store. Some of the parent chaperones who come through the store have never visited before, and they enjoy seeing the supermarket from a different angle and not only as a shopping chore!
For Our Store
Sets an example for staff. Our employees see how the owner integrates with the community and especially the young kids. It sets a strong example for them to be more community-minded and interact with customers of all ages.
Increases store awareness. The school puts the information about the excursion in their newsletter, so the teachers, school staff, and parents become very aware of our store.
Boosts business morale. All the other businesses in the shopping center see the excursion and the positivity it brings to the center.
- Reach out to nearby schools. Our store has two schools along the road from us, and I thought this was the best way to get the school, the kids, and the parents to learn about our store.
- Awareness starts with the parents. The parents give their children the money for the healthy snacks (about $2.00), which teaches the children to be responsible for the money, to spend it wisely, and to donate the balance to charity.
- Allow the kids to choose a charity. We have several local charity collection tins at the dedicated checkout for the students to choose from.
- Host the tour during open hours. The regular shoppers see this excursion and almost all of them smile and are complimentary about it. It promotes a sense of warm community spirit.
We recommend the students come with no more than $2.00 for their healthy snack purchase and charity donation.
- All you need is the store owner and one other employee to host the excursion.
- Allot 30 minutes per excursion of 30 kids.
- Limit it to three consecutive runs in a morning session. That's 90 kids in less than two hours. Your timing will depend on how many streams they have in the class.
- Visit your local school and speak to the head or principal about introducing a kindergarten excursion, and explain the student benefits (learning responsibility for money, the value of money, healthy eating choices, and donating to charity).
- Always smile and enjoy the occasion. Keep the kids entertained with fun bits of information, and keep it interactive with questions and prizes at the end of each store department.
Have a best practice of your own? We want to hear it!