Giant Foods Pops Up at NASCAR Race

Oct 01, 2010

By Tom Ryan

Giant Foods opened a temporary grocery to serve fans at the Dover
International Speedway in Dover, DE. Called the "Speedway Supermarket," the
5,000 square-foot, tent-topped store is designed to serve the needs of the
packed RV campground for the four-day event that ended on Sunday, September

Pop-up grocery stores have been constructed at racetracks in the past, according
to the Baltimore Business Journal, but this represents the first time
a grocer bought sponsorship rights to a pop-up store and simultaneously partnered
with NASCAR on an in-store promotion. Giant, a subsidiary of Ahold, also gained
signage at the track, hospitality and activation rights.

The "Chase for
the Savings" five-week promotion featured NASCAR
official partner products from Coca-Cola, Kraft, Unilever, Mars and Procter & Gamble
at front-of-store displays and in circulars. Consumers were given chances to
win race tickets, NASCAR merchandise and trips to the NASCAR Champion’s
Week in Las Vegas.

According to a profile in The News Journal in Delaware,
the pop-up at the Dover International Speedway was tailored to the NASCAR and
cookout crowd. The mix includes soda and snacks, meat, citronella candles,
insect spray, camping gear and two coffee bars. The freezer mostly featured
pizza. No beer is sold due to Delaware’s alcohol laws. The store was managed
and supplied by Giant’s six Delaware stores.

"The assortment is pretty comparable to what you’d find in a 60,000-square-foot
store," Rob Harman, Giant’s regional vice president, told The News

Race fans interviewed by the newspaper appeared thrilled not to have to
endure the heavy traffic to get supplies at a nearby Acme.

"I’ll tell you, I’ve been coming here eight years. It’s about time they
did something like this," said Kirk Werner. "I ain’t never going
to that store up there again."

The deal is NASCAR’s second with a
grocer, although the first didn’t include sponsorship rights. Last fall, Brookshire’s
opened a pop-up in the infield at Texas Motor Speedway and ran NASCAR
partner promotions at stores in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
NASCAR told the Sports
Business Journal
it hopes to have as many as six retail partners next season.

Discussion Questions: What do you think of the potential for pop-up stores
for supermarkets? What other events might make sense for temporary supermarkets?

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8 Comments on "Giant Foods Pops Up at NASCAR Race"

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Charlie Moro
Charlie Moro
10 years 7 months ago

What a great idea. Forget for a moment that NASCAR has some of the most loyal brand fans of any sport which as to have some residual benefits, but the next level of brand awareness, customer service and preferred shopping experience are all benefits to Giant and others that may take on this strategy.

Think football games, where retailers design “tailgate packages” or other outdoor events like concerts or recreation areas where cooler packages are offered.

This can be the next way for stores to get closer to their customers (look at last year’s and this year’s increase for the Toys “R” Us pop up stores) and build a relationship with their customers on their turf.

Susan Rider
Susan Rider
10 years 7 months ago

A very innovative and a fabulous idea. As we see Pop Ups being successful, (Halloween Express, Christmas Toy Shop etc.) they will become more prevalent. Excellent opportunity and kudos to Giant for the foresight.

Roger Saunders
10 years 7 months ago

The operations team has to work out the tactical logistics of service, quality, sanitation, etc. needs. Military logistic units have dealt with these types of issues quite successfully.

This makes perfect sense to tie the marketing, merchandising, and operations together. If a chain is going to invest six or seven figures into events like this, they should strive to get the biggest bang possible with a holistic approach.

Mel Kleiman
10 years 7 months ago

Great retailing. Go where the customers are, serve them what they need and want. They may not have made any money on this venture (I bet they did) but it was great marketing.

I don’t think anyone can see any downside in this accept for the Ames store.

David Biernbaum
10 years 7 months ago

I’m a huge fan of pop-up stores the way that Giant Foods initiated and created one for the NASCAR event. This is just smart business.

Brian Van De Walle
Brian Van De Walle
10 years 7 months ago

A big problem with any large venue event is how to handle traffic to and from the site. What a great way to keep trips internal to the site and reduce the overall traffic impact of the site.

Ed Rosenbaum
10 years 7 months ago

What a fantastic opportunity to have a captive market that will not forget your name and continue to shop at your store. NASCAR is the most watched sport with the strongest fan support nation wide. Giant has hit a grand slam home run.

The next largest event arena has to be NFL and college football games. This is going to grow into a huge market. the question will become for the marketers how to grab a larger piece of the financial pie.

Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson
10 years 7 months ago

Luv it! Similar pop-up grocers would make sense at any number of limited-run events or seasonal locations, e.g., campgrounds, major sporting events, concerts, state fairs, etc. I could even see retrofitting an 18-wheeler to make it into a mobile store that travels from one event to another.

We often think in terms of generating long-term customer loyalty. But I think a good case exits for short-term loyalty, i.e., serving consumers for a short, defined time period. The Macy’s “Visit Macy’s USA” program, for example, includes in-store visitor centers in specific, high-tourist cities and a visitor savings pass voucher. More retailers–especially those with a large store footprint–should explore similar creative programs. And who knows, a positive short-term experience could help generate a positive long-term brand relationship.


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