Following the overwhelming success of its inaugural Local Discoveries event in June, Gelson's Markets is hosting a second pitch event for innovative local products on Sept. 10 at its distribution center in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
The retailer is looking for entrepreneurs to pitch their locally produced items with 70 center store and 15 fresh (including floral, produce and meat) product slots available during the one-day event. Any producer within 50 miles of a Gelson’s store, which includes Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Bernardino counties, are encouraged to attend.
Each producer has 25 minutes to share the highlights of their product to the appropriate Gelson’s buyer. For those selected, the products will not only be placed on Gelson’s store shelves, but also actively promoted through the retailer’s online and social media marketing.
One of the products chosen in the first pitch event, Casa de Comer salsas, debuted on shelves of all 27 locations earlier this month. “We came in feeling nervous and excited to introduce our salsas and walked away feeling like we were just ‘discovered'—a slingshot opportunity for a small family business that started out of the kitchen,” said Silvia Franco Comer, principal with Casa de Comer.
Gelson’s has a long history of launching locally produced items, including BJ’s Brewhouse Beer, Califia Farms, Chicas Chips, Coolhaus Ice Cream, Groundwork Coffee and Health-Ade Kombucha.
“The response was so encouraging that we decided to make this a twice annual event, and will likely hold them in the spring and fall next year,” said John Bagan, chief merchandising officer of Gelson’s. “We look forward to meeting new entrepreneurs and are excited to be introduced to some terrific local discoveries to surprise and delight our customers.”
Interested producers can apply for an open slot at https://glsns.us/LocalDiscoveries.