Progressive Grocer (India) - - Store Of The Month -

Har­vest Mar­ket, in Cham­paign, Ill., is a new con­cept from Nie­mann Foods that’s fo­cused on connecting cus­tomers with their food through the su­per­mar­ket. To connect shop­pers to the store, the com­pany is largely us­ing so­cial me­dia to get out its mes­sage. The store doesn’t use ad­ver­tis­ing in the tra­di­tional way that most su­per­mar­kets do — no weekly ads in lo­cal news­pa­pers (fliers are printed and avail­able in store with weekly spe­cials); in­stead, so­cial me­dia plays that role. “This store lives and dies in so­cial me­dia, be­cause that’s how the sto­ries re­ally get told,” says Rich Nie­mann Jr., pres­i­dent and CEO of Quincy, Ill.-based Nie­mann Foods. Ron Cook, Vp/di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing, notes that the com­pany started spread­ing the word about the new store sev­eral months in ad­vance of its de­but. “We in­tro­duced what we were do­ing two months be­fore we opened, and we had 5,000 peo­ple in our com­mu­nity al­ready en­gaged with our lo­cal brand that were talk­ing about it,” he adds. The store also is re­cruit­ing its sup­pli­ers to spread their own mes­sages via so­cial me­dia. “As they’re har­vest­ing wheat or corn, we’re film­ing that and post­ing it to our site,” Cook says. “It’s talk­ing to our cus­tomer and say­ing, ‘This is what we’re do­ing. We’re a part of the story.’”

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