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NEW YORK -- The National Association for Specialty Food Trade, Inc. (NASFT) and Specialty Food Magazine have named the following companies Outstanding Specialty Food Retailers of 2007: Central Market, Dallas; Fairway Market, New York; Pastoral, Chicago; Sickles Market, Little Silver, N.J.; Liberty Heights Fresh, Salt Lake City; and Dorothy Lane Market, Dayton, Ohio.
"Despite diverse formats and different clientele, these retailers share a philosophy of making eating a pleasurable and educational experience," the trade association said in a statement. "[E]ach of this year's winners are dedicated to providing shoppers with an array of high-quality, innovative, artisan specialty foods and beverages in attractive settings with the highest level of service."
To identify candidates, NASFT asked its supplier members to name retailers they admired. Those with the most nominations were asked to submit entries, which included photographs, store facts, articles, menus, newsletters, press kits, training manuals, and customer letters. A panel of former Outstanding Specialty Food Retailer winners, manufacturers, distributors, and journalists evaluated the information and chose the top entries.
"The winners are the definition of a successful specialty food store: They provide excellent customer service, introduce their communities to products not found in mainstream grocery stores, and strive to stock the highest-quality, exclusive products that are not mass-produced," noted NASFT. "In addition, they devote a substantial amount of time to educating their staff and consumers by regularly providing samples, demonstrations, and cooking classes. Ultimately these stores succeed in showing consumers that specialty foods fit into everyday lifestyles."
NASFT has over 2,500 members that produce almost 180,000 specialty food products.