In these challenging and uncertain times, we all need a reason to smile. With a nod to actor John Krasinski’s Some Good News, WGB presents five good things that happened in grocery this past week.
Harmons Steps Up for Girl Scouts
The coronavirus pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders have wreaked havoc on normal life, including the annual Girl Scout cookie sale.
The Girl Scouts of Utah were left with 100,000 unsold boxes when the organization decided to end this year's sale early to protect its participants, but local grocer Harmons stepped in to help keep the sale going by selling the boxes in its stores. Cookies will be sold at the same price ($5) as if they had been purchased from girls at a cookie booth and had the program been able to continue through the end of the cookie season.
“For 88 years, Harmons has supported the organizations that serve the communities throughout our state. This year, opening our shelves to help support the Girl Scout Cookie Program is a sweet solution to helping this tremendous organization meet their goals while offering our customers a convenient way to safely satisfy their Girl Scout cookie cravings,” said Todd Jensen, Harmons VP of sales.
Kudos to Harmons for helping the organization retain its largest fundraiser, which supports STEM, life skills, outdoor and entrepreneurship programs, as well as scholarship assistance for girls. A Thin Mint shortage would be a truly sad thing.
Make a Wish Farms
Wish Farms’ recent giveback campaign on Instagram promoted local businesses while simultaneously supporting children in need.
The Plant City, Fla.-based international grower and year-round marketer of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries launched a “Buy Local. Spread Happiness” campaign that encouraged users to nominate their favorite local businesses by tagging them in comments on various Wish Farms posts. Those businesses were then automatically entered into a random raffle drawing.
Wish Farms purchased $500 gift cards from each winner—Florida-based businesses that have been adversely affected by the ongoing pandemic—and donated those gift cards to One More Child, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter, services and supplies to children and families in need.
“This was a special campaign for us that truly ran full circle,” said Hailey Clark, marketing coordinator for Wish Farms. “It feels good to have found a way that we can both support the businesses we love and spread happiness by donating to those who need it most in our community.”
A New Twist on Safety
The coronavirus pandemic has forced any number of companies to reinvent on the fly. Bedford Industries, a Worthington, Minn.-based company that makes twist ties and other flexible packaging devices, bag closures and tags you might recognize from your bakery, produce and grocery departments, got in on the action when officials saw an opportunity to assist in personal protective equipment (PPE).
The company already contributed in a small way to the PPE field: It makes those flexible nose wires that help keep your breath from steaming your eyeglasses while wearing face masks. The latter sparked the idea to build a new product that could keep people safe from COVID-19. Bedford repurposed a number of its manufacturing lines to produce more than 100,000 plastic face shields in less than a week.
The “Elastishield” is a full-face shield intended to conserve N95 respirators and other types of face masks, the company said. Bedford saw such high demand for the Elastishield that it partnered with Oracle NetSuite to build out its first-ever e-commerce platform and, in the first week, sold nearly 13,000 shields. It is now making 150,000 per day now and selling not just to medical gear distributors but also to fire departments, nursing homes and grocery stores—all of which now find themselves on the front lines of a pandemic containment effort.
Farmers to Families Program Push
DiMare Fresh, a Dallas-based value-added distribution company specializing in produce and floral, is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box program to supply product through its distribution facilities to service nonprofit entities throughout the Southwest.
“We are honored to be a part of the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program to fully utilize our Southwest distribution centers to help families in need,” said Tony DiMare, an owner of family-owned and -operated DiMare Fresh, in a statement. “Aside from helping those in need of fresh food in the communities we serve, we’re also able to help other growers move their surplus of fresh U.S. produce.”
The company, which will begin deliveries on May 15, will channel USDA funds to its Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston operations, which have been most impacted by the loss of foodservice business. The direct-store delivery model will move distribution from direct-to-restaurants to eligible nonprofits.
DiMare Fresh has long-standing relationships with local and regional food banks and other nonprofits, such as the Houston Food Bank, North Texas Food Bank, Community Table and Brighter Bites. This funding will allow for DiMare Fresh to expand to other hunger relief organizations and operations working to provide those in need with fresh food.
White Castle Slides Into Restaurant Relief
White Castle, the fast-food hamburger restaurant and frozen slider purveyor to supermarkets, is sponsoring a virtual dance party on May 15 to raise money for the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.
Every May 15, as part of National Hamburger Month, White Castle honors the burger that made it famous 99 years ago—the Original Slider—with its own day, National Slider Day, giving every customer a free Slider. White Castle will continue that tradition this year, but in recognition of the huge impact of COVID-19, it’s stepping up its game with its first virtual dance party at 8 p.m. EST May 15.
The party, called “Slider Jam,” will be hosted by the DJ duo Dude Skywalker, who are donating their time to the cause. Slider Jam can be viewed on Dude Skywalker’s Facebook,YouTube, Instagram and Twitch. By clicking on the Slider Jam link, party guests will see the DJs and be able to chat with new friends and familiar acquaintances in the comments section.
There is no cost to attend the virtual dance party, but White Castle will encourage donations to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which provides grants to restaurant employees who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. A donation link will be available on each of the streaming platforms. White Castle hopes to raise $10,000 from the party.