David Dozier, produce manager of GFF Foods in Moore, OK, took top honors in the third-annual Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Spanish Sweet Onion Lover's Month retail display contest.
With a giant poster overhead showing the committee's "Jumbo Onion" mascot lifting weights and proclaiming Spanish Sweets "battle blandness," GFF's January display showcased bags of yellow and white onions on an island in the produce department.
For his efforts, Mr. Dozier took the grand cash prize of $2,000. The contest, which was the third annual staged by the onion committee's marketing department and Director Sherise Jones, offered more than $50,000 in cash and prizes to retail participants nationwide.
This year, the number of competitors increased, Ms. Jones said.
Creativity was encouraged, and rules are traditionally uncomplicated and require only that displays be in place at least one week during the Dec. 31- Feb. 2 Spanish Sweet Onion Lover's Month period.
Displays were also required to be within the store's produce department and include fresh Idaho-Eastern Oregon onions that are bagged, bulk or both with a discernible label showing the Idaho-Eastern Oregon name and the familiar Spanish Sweet Onion logo.
Several states were represented in this year's contest. First-place winners, each of whom received a cash prize of $750, were Randy Bonner and Spain's Supermarket in Granada, MS; Dick Rissman and Dahl's Foods in Des Moines, IA; David Poole and Western Supermarkets in Birmingham, AL; Sami Freij and Bruno's 327 in Mobile, AL; Kelly Scantland and Houchens 25 in Bowling Green, KY; and Keith Fetterolf and Foodland in Lebanon, PA.
Second place and cash prizes of $500 each went to Norm Eckley and Jim Thorpe Market in Jim Thorpe, PA; Mike Brichetto and Dahl's Foods in West Des Moines, IA; Gerald K. Bender and Warehouse Market 28 in Tulsa, OK; Diane Nellis and Sureway-Food Giant in Henderson, KY; and Nancy Carpenter and Houchens in Mount Carmel, IL.
Third-place winners, each receiving a cash prize of $259, were Deb Halteman and Dutch-Way Farm Market in Myerstown, PA; Tim Pepper and Dahl's Foods in Des Moines, IA; Kevin Watts and Bi-Lo 16 in Liberty, SC; Jeff Stark and Dahl's Foods in Des Moines, IA; Dennis Johnson and Dahl's Foods in Clive, IA; Kevin Mittag and Dahl's Foods in Des Moines, IA; David Richards and Dahl's Foods in Des Moines, IA; Rick Lane and Dahl's Foods in Des Moines, IA; Angelo Georgatos and Shop 'n Save Market in Niles, IL; Brian Morales and Shop 'n Save Market in Des Plaines, IL; Pedro Cortez and Shop 'n Save Market in Schamburg, IL; and Benito Garsies and Shop 'n Save Market in Bridgeview, IL.
In addition, the committee presented $25 gift certificates to every display contest entry, allowing them to choose from Sears, Starbucks, Lowe's, Best Buy, Home Depot and Target.
Point-of-purchase materials were encouraged, with the committee providing materials that incorporated the 2008-09 marketing theme. This season's campaign touts a healthy lifestyle with ads showing men, women and children taking part in outdoor activities.