Cecil K’s Hometown Market earned the title of the Outstanding Marketer in the National Grocers Association’s annual Creative Choice Awards competition, while Coborn’s took top honors as the Outstanding Merchandiser. The regional grocer’s winning designations represent the highest awards in NGA’s Creative Choice Awards contest, which annually honors the best merchandising and marketing campaigns in the grocery industry that have increased and positively impacted overall store sales or provided a unique benefit to the community.
The Holton, Kan.-based Cecil K’s winning marketing entry was for its “First Annual Christmas Tree Decorating Contest” video, which showcased the single-store grocer’s support of the community and raised charitable donations in a friendly competition. Four Christmas trees were decorated in the center aisle of Cecil K’s by four local Jackson County businesses, each choosing a local Jackson County charity to benefit in the contest. The trees were voted upon by the public Nov. 25-Dec. 24 using customers’ Cecil K’s receipts. Cecil K’s and other local Jackson County businesses sponsored the prizes that were awarded to first- through fourth-place winners.
For its Outstanding Merchandiser win, the St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn’s “Food for a Cause” entry impressed the judges following the successful results of the cause-oriented campaign to generate support for local food shelves. In addition to guest and vendor donations of approximately $25,000 of nonperishable food to local food shelves, Coborn’s donated $85,000 to fund additional charities and nonprofits that support children and fight hunger and 3,000 turkeys to local food shelves the week before Thanksgiving.
“Independent grocers are implementing amazing campaigns and initiatives each and every day in their stores that set them apart from their competition,” said Peter Larkin, NGA president and CEO, in a statement. Larkin congratulated both companies “for their innovative ideas and the excellent work they do for their communities.”
More than 500 Creative Choice entries were submitted from grocery operators throughout the country. Entries were judged on the criteria of creativity and effectiveness by a panel of 28 industry experts.
The contest, sponsored by Kellogg’s and Unilever, featured 10 categories with two winners for each, one entry from a one- to 15-store operator and one entry from a store operator with 15 or more supermarkets.
The marketing campaigns and merchandising events or promotions were held between Dec. 1, 2017, and Dec. 1, 2018. A full list of 2019 Creative Choice Award winners can be found here.