October 29, 2013

One-store wonder tops Taylor’s Gold contest

The Taylor’s Gold pear has become a top-seller in North America due to its unique colour and taste, gaining more spotlight than ever in 2013 while retailers across the U.S. and Canada applied their merchandising prowess to a far-reaching sales contest.

Surprising many, the single-store southeastern retailer Freshfields Farm emerged as the winner, more than tripling the per-store sales of the second place chain. For their efforts, Freshfields Farm produce staff members were presented with a glass Koru trophy recognizing them as the best Taylor’s Gold retailer in the world and a trip to New Zealand at last week’s Produce Marketing Association convention.

Freshfields Farm sold over 8,500 pears through a single retail outlet between July and August.

The sales contest of the fully russetted ENZA variety was staged by Turners and Growers’ North American pipfruit marketing partner, The Oppenheimer Group. Oppy introduced Taylor’s Gold pears, as well as Granny Smith, Braeburn, JAZZ™ and Envy™ apples, among others, to North America over the last half-century.

“We wanted to achieve sales velocity for this pear. As most of the Taylor’s Gold crop is imported by Oppy, it follows that our customer with the highest per store sales would be the best Taylor’s Gold retailer in the world,” said David Nelley, who manages apple and pear marketing for Oppy. “That’s a mighty title but a well-deserved one nonetheless. Capturing the imagination of retail customers meant they had to work hard to sell that volume of fruit, staging larger displays. Price was not a factor, which is a great end result for the grower.”

As its name would suggest, Freshfields Farm is a fresh-focused retailer, specializing in high quality meat and produce in a single store in Orlando, Florida. Its produce section is characterized by inviting displays of carefully selected fruits and vegetables, towering high but within ready reach.

“Taylor’s Gold is a very good pear,” said Earl McGrath, director of produce operations for Freshfields Farm. “Sampling was a large part of our success.”

McGrath said during the promotion Freshfields Farm saw sales increase six-fold on some days, noting that now that Taylors Gold has developed a following they may pair it with cheese next summer.

Freshfields Farm will open a second store in Jacksonville will open before the end of the year, in plenty of time to prepare make room for the 2014 Taylor’s Gold pear crop.

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