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with pretzels, cheese and fruit and grab- and-go yogurt cups with granola, as well as low-fat sandwiches made with whole- wheat bread and turkey. The company will continue to roll out other items this year. For instance, a new flatbread sandwich with pesto sauce is one of six new sandwiches in the new line-up.

Creating Quality

Quality ingredients are among the com- pany’s competitive advantages, Haertl says. Although SuperMom’s is well- known for its fresh bakery goods, Epperson says its deli items are gaining in popularity. “We are constantly evaluat- ing the bakery case and the cooler to see what will work in different settings,” he says. “We truly believe in the quality of the products we put in there. We work with vendors who can help us put out a high-quality product, too.”

SuperMom’s has invested capital to automate its processing lines at its 90,000-square-foot facility to become more efficient and capable of doing longer runs on its bakery and commis- sary lines, Epperson explains.

Innovative Food

Before launching a new product, SuperMom’s conducts small test groups and gathers information from face-to face interviews with its consumers. SuperMom’s relies on a moderate mar- keting budget, in-store displays and pos- itive word-of-mouth from satisfied cus- tomers to promote its products. “Once we develop something, we test it at a select group of locations,” Haertl notes. Creating high-quality items at reason- able price points is something the com- pany will continue to do, but Haertl admits it’s not always easy. “A lot of fac- tors that affect convenience store pur-

supermom’s llc

chases are made at the pump,” Haertl says. “It’s tough. How do you fight con- stantly increasing costs and maintain quality when people are paying $4 at the pump?” Offering two-for-one specials or free samples are two ways the manufacturer is trying to drive business into the stores. Other tactics have included offering “Speedy Reward” points for every pur- chase, which can then be applied toward gas purchases. Most importantly, Haertl and Epperson hope to gain new customers by providing convenient food that tastes better than the standard fare. “We pride ourselves on the products that we use and the new and creative ideas that we come up with,” Haertl says. “We are not afraid to mix things up. “I’m very proud of our innovations,” he asserts. “We’re not afraid to try dif- ferent things.”

“We’re not afraid to try dif- ferent things.” food and drink • fall 2008 •
“We’re not afraid to try dif- ferent things.” food and drink • fall 2008 •
“We’re not afraid to try dif- ferent things.” food and drink • fall 2008 •

food and drink • fall 2008 • 83