Hollys Oatmeal at the Stop&Shop ShowThe Stop&Shop Local Vendor Show took place last week (9/15/2011) at The Lantana in Randolph, MA. It was organized by Ahold USA Supplier Diversity & Trade Relations office to give small New England grocery manufacturers an opportunity to interact with the Stop&Shop buyers.

A little less than one hundred local grocery manufacturers gathered to showcase products in categories such as dairy, baked goods, condiments, sauces, meats, frozen products, pet food, and many more. Each vendor set up products, displays, POS materials, sell sheets, etc. on a table at the large banquet hall. Almost all the vendors offered samples and tasting opportunities, although sadly mostly to other vendors.

The show was designed so that every vendor got to spend a few minutes with one or more Stop&Shop buyers. For the most part these buyers are the final arbitrators when it comes to the decision about products finding their way into the stores. There were also Stop & Shop associates on the floor, probably to help and recommend the buyers with their initial evaluation of the products.

While this was a great opportunity for small manufacturers is was a much better opportunity for the buyers to see everything local suppliers have to offer in a trade show settings. We just hope that many good connections were made and that some of you will make it into the stores.

Please share your thoughts and ideas about this event and tell us if this was a good overall experience. The organizers of the show will most likely read what you have to say.