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BE MINE, VALENTINE

by Adam Zack — February 3, 2015

A friend is having a surprise 60th birthday party for her sister.  

“Can you help me with some addresses for people to invite?” she asked.  

“Of course.  When is it?” I inquired.

“It’s Valentine’s Day, which is no big deal to older people.” She answered.  

Well, first I am not excited about being lumped in with “older people” and second, I think she’s underestimating that Valentine’s day still does mean something to most couples who still like each other. It’s not big like Christmas or my birthday, but as a retailer with the opportunity to spark a little romance for these couples, it’s a great way to be involved in their lives on a day designated for love.  

You know the old Valentine’s traditions:  Roses from a local florist, chocolate from See’s or Godiva, candlelit dinner at fancy restaurant, and, well… you know the rest. Or at least you should know.  So the opportunity lies in providing the traditions – and doing them very well at a great value.  Several of the retailers we work with have been doing just that for years and letting us at DW Green tell their story to their customers. Offering imported, long stem florist quality roses arranged in a vase that saves them $40 and waiting in line at the florist. And offering local, handmade chocolate truffles saves them a trip to See’s candy. A four course, chef prepared dinner – complete with chocolate dipped strawberries that is packed and ready to be eaten at home, complete with wine pairing suggestions saves them $100 – or more. All from your store. The customer supplies the candles and the music, and you do the rest. After all, pretty much everyone over age 30 knows that Valentine’s dinner out is strictly amateur night, just like New Year’s Eve. Pay big bucks for crowded restaurants when what they really want to do is have a quiet dinner alone with their partner. A memorable meal, maybe some Champagne or a special wine, all provided by you, their grocery store. Who’d have imagined 10 years ago that you’d have this opportunity?

So why aren’t more grocery stores – especially the ones with kitchen facilities and talented chefs – promoting themselves as the Valentine’s dinner solution? I don’t know, but they should be. The greatest opportunity for traditional grocers is to provide alternative meal solutions to customers who would otherwise go to a restaurant. Teddy bears, balloons and cards are great, but why just be the icing when with a wonderful dinner you can be the whole cake?

So, having said all that I will be going to the surprise birthday party with all the other older people. But that’s OK. My partner will be out of town on a special trip, and like I tell her every year, we don’t need to celebrate – everyday is Valentine’s Day for us. To which she rolls her eyes and says “Oh brother!!!”.

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