Public Display

2017 Wisconsin potato display contest closes on high note

Published online: Mar 30, 2018 Articles Dana Rady, Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association
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This column appears in the April 2018 issue of Potato Grower

For the second year in a row, the Wisconsin potato industry challenged retailers across the Midwest to showcase their most creative ideas in displaying Wisconsin potatoes during the month of October, also known as the state’s PotatoPalooza month.

After much consideration in reviewing the entries—which doubled from 2016—the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) once again named Trig’s in Rhinelander the first-place winner of the Wisconsin potatoes display contest.

The decision came as a result of significant effort the store put into incorporating every one of its departments in the potato promotion. For example, there was a vast potato display in the produce department, along with suggested toppings for a loaded baked potato, recipe tear pads, posters and banners on potato nutrition and buying local. The bakery featured cookies in the shape of Wisconsin that included an edible WPVGA logo, along with potato breads and cakes. The deli showcased loaded baked potatoes, potato salads and ready-made meals with red potatoes as a side dish. Those walking through the spirits department were introduced to Great Northern Distilling potato vodka. And customers were greeted by the Spudmobile, Wisconsin’s traveling billboard, as they walked into the store.

Amid all this, customers were greeted with different contests throughout the store with prizes of their own. There was a Spudly coloring contest for kids to win a gift basket. A cutting board went to the person who guessed the correct number of potatoes in a jar, and another lucky winner took home an outdoor lawn chair simply for having walked through the Spudmobile and tasting a free potato-dish sample.

Additionally, each employee sported “Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin” t-shirts with the WPVGA logo on the front. Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head also enjoyed interacting with shoppers throughout the day. 

Of all the entries, Trig’s was the only store that incorporated each and every aspect of its landscape to some type of Wisconsin potato promotion, which resulted in consumers leaving educated and inspired with new and creative preparation ideas. This is what pushed Trig’s over the top to win the contest for the second year in a row.

“We cannot thank the WPVGA enough for having the contest,” says Don Theisen, store manager of the Rhinelander Trig’s.  “Winning last year was such an honor. Being able to win a Harley-Davidson motorcycle for selling local and then turning it around and supporting our communities with the sale was a win-win for our store, company and community. Now we get to do it again, and we are pretty jacked up. This year, we challenged ourselves to do even more as a store and company.

“In Rhinelander, we got more involved with our local food pantry and University of Wisconsin Agricultural Research Station at ‘A Night on the Farm,’” Theisen continues. “We also wanted to do more to educate ourselves and community on the health benefits of potatoes. Who knew potatoes were the best energy-producing veggie; help control blood sugar levels; prevent kidney stones? We obviously learned a lot. Getting involved in this promotion has improved our product knowledge and merchandising as well as our relationships with the farmers, suppliers and community. We look forward to further building these relationships in the future and supporting our Wisconsin families in what they do best.”

For its 2017 victory, Trig’s was awarded with a 2016 Cub Cadet UTV at the Dec. 20 giveaway event in the presence of the Trig’s team and WPVGA promotions committee members.

WPVGA also recognized Piggly Wiggly in Hartford, Wis., as the contest’s runner-up. The store featured WPVGA logos and “Buy Local” quarter-sized bins in its produce department, along with banners on potato types, varieties and uses, the chance to win a gift card upon guessing the correct number of potatoes in a jar, posters of NHL All-Star and two-time Olympian Joe Pavelski (a Wisconsin native and promoter of Wisconsin potatoes) and an end cap that included “Meet Our Growers” information along with product.

It has truly been  a pleasure for the WPVGA to see the wonderful efforts put forth from retail stores in the Midwest as they support and communicate the importance of buying local and buying Wisconsin to their customers.