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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- It could have been the 50,528,081 pounds of apples sold a year, or the fact that Meijer carries more than 23 varieties. Or it could be because Meijer generally has the freshest produce on the market. Any way you slice it, Meijer is a leader in apple sales and merchandising, and was accordingly given top honors as the 2004 Apple Merchandiser of the Year yesterday by the U.S. apple industry.
"Meijer has been chosen for this recognition for overall apple merchandising, including apple handling, variety usage, category expansion, processed apple product usage, and overall apple, apple juice, applesauce, apple pie filling category management," noted Kay Swartz Rentzel, director of the U.S. Apple Association.
"Members of the U.S. apple industry nominated retailers from across the country for this honor, and Meijer was selected from the many entrants. Our congratulation goes out to Meijer," Swartz said.
The honor carries with it a plaque presentation to Meijer's Dave Prostko, Meijer group v.p. of perishables merchandising, and Jim Spilka, v.p. of produce and bulk foods, at the U.S. Apple Association's Outlook & Marketing Conference in Chicago, the largest gathering of apple industry representatives in the country.
"We work very hard to make sure we provide our guests the highest quality product and the largest variety available," Prostko said. "We sell more locally grown products, from the states we are in, than any other retailer and we are proud of that."
Meijer carries more than 23 varieties of apples from Michigan, Washington, Chile, New Zealand, and Canada, including Red, Gold, Gingergold, Granny, Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, Pink Lady, Paula Red, Jazz, Honeycrisp, Jonamac, Ida Red, Red Rome, Jonagold, Empire, Crispin, Spy, McIntosh, Jonathan, Pacific Rose, Cortland, and Winesap.
The family-owned and operated grocery and general merchandise retailer, currently celebrating its 70th anniversary, operates 162 stores throughout Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.