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The National Apple Month program announced the winners of the fall 2009 National Apple Month retail and military display contests. The annual contest, which jump-starts the domestic apple industry's marketing season, provided retailers and the apple industry with increased sales and gave consumers easy access to great-tasting, good-for-you apples and partner products of Marzetti Caramel Apple Dips, Smucker's natural peanut butter and JIF natural peanut butter.

"The contest continues to deliver a promotional marketing event to kick-start the domestic apple industry's marketing season and allows retailers to use domestic apples from across the country to provide consumers quality apples," Kay Swartz Rentzel, director of National Apple Month, said in a March 3 press release. "When combined with the creativity of produce managers in building the displays, it's a success for everyone. The national partners -- Marzetti, Smucker's and JIF -- provided produce managers with an opportunity to cross-merchandise with another section of the store and create greater impulse sales from their customers."

Ms. Rentzel went on to say that these established brands were perfect partners for the promotion since their products complement apples.

Vying for more than $10,000 in prizes in the display contest were retailers from across the country. From September through November, entrants built displays in their stores that prompted consumers to buy more apples, apple products, Marzetti caramel apple dip, Smucker's natural peanut butter and JIF natural peanut butter. These displays helped boost sales and increase bottom-line profits.

Brett Reed, produce manager at Hy-Vee's Windsor Heights, IA, store, submitted the winning entry for stores with 10 or more registers. The entry featured more than 15 varieties of regular and organic apples that sold nearly 200 cases of apples in less than two weeks. Due to merchandising, the display provided extra impulse sales when consumers were given the opportunity to purchase Marzetti caramel apple dips and natural peanut butters from Smucker's and JIF with their apples. Additionally, the store saw double-digit sales increases with nearly every product featured in the display.

Capturing the first place finish in the division of stores with nine and fewer registers was G.F.F. Foods in Moore, OK. David Dozier, who coordinated the entry, used a "Great American" theme for the award-winning display. G.F.F. Foods saw apple sales lifts over the previous year, due in part to the 15 varieties and more than 400 boxes of apples sold during the promotion. Mr. Dozier's display included tray-pack apples, bagged apples (three and five pounds) and totes of apples, along with processed apple products, shippers and open-stock Marzetti caramel apple dips, Smucker's natural peanut butter and JIF natural peanut butter.

The top five-place winners in each division of the 2009 NAM retail display contest are:

Small stores G.F.F. Foods, Moore, OK; entry coordinator, David Dozier Foodland, Lebanon, PA; entry coordinator, Keith Fetterolf Hy-Vee, Waterloo, IA; entry coordinator, Eric Dodge Ryan's Big M, Brockport, NY; entry coordinator, Kevin David Sureway 88, Henderson, KY; entry coordinator, Diane Nellis.

Large stores Hy-Vee, Windsor Heights, IA; entry coordinator, Brett Reed Tops Markets #114, Depew, NY; entry coordinator, Bob Gorlick Hy-Vee, Marshalltown, IA; entry coordinator, John Sherman Shady Maple Farm Market, East Earl, PA; entry coordinator, Wayne Sauder Publix Supermarket, Wesley Chapel, FL; entry coordinator, Nick Blesie.