By Kristina Harris
The 2013 Natural Products Expo East is quickly approaching. The event will be held September 25-28 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland. This event is always highly anticipated by retailers and buyers alike, as it is the largest natural, organic and healthy products trade show on the East Coast.
“Unlike its West Coast counterpart, the Expo East is a more intimate experience for both buyers and sellers,” says Adam Andersen, Natural Products Group Show Director. “We are a great place for regional brands to get exposure, but we also have larger companies here. It’s ideal for networking.”
The main theme of this year’s show is conscious capitalism, a movement that calls for businesses to be driven by values based on social and personal responsibility in addition to the goal of becoming financially profitable. Raj Sisodia, Ph.D., author, businessman and a local and global leader of the conscious capitalism movement, will be speaking as the Expo’s keynote speaker on Friday, September 27.
Sisodia believes that his message is extremely pertinent to natural product companies. “In today’s rapidly evolving world, it matters greatly not only what we produce, but also how we run our businesses,” he says. “Conscious businesses are driven by a higher purpose, built on love and care rather than fear and stress.”
Expo East organizers hope to cultivate an intimate setting within which show attendees can discuss Sisodia’s message and exchange ideas about how their own companies can adopt strategies to not only succeed, but also build conscious business practices at the same time.
An exciting event planned for this year’s Expo East will be the unveiling of the NEXT Accelerator program, previously soft-launched at the Natural Products Expo West earlier this year. The NEXT Natural Products Industry Accelerator gives entrepreneurial brands searchable access to the information, tools, service providers and networking contacts they need to launch and grow their natural products businesses.
“Basically, it’s an online portal where members of the industry can connect with each other,” says Andersen. This is the only “product-to-shelf workshop” program of its type in the natural market. It features fundraising, manufacturing, distribution, branding, sales and marketing topics.
There are also a number of highly valuable informational sessions planned for this year’s show that attendees will certainly want to take advantage of. According to Andersen, the planned retailer workshops are definitely educational, and are sure to be worth the time and money spent on them.
Finally, Anderson also urges those present at the show to attend one other special event: “Join us for our Community Celebration Event that precedes the Orioles Game on the 26th, from 5-7 p.m. at Camden Terrace. It’s going to be a tailgate theme that will officially kick off the Expo East.”
By Hannah Hollins
Thirty years ago, John Harney decided to take his 13 years of experience with tea and start a business of his own. After starting the business in the basement of the family home, Harney & Sons eventually moved into the garage of a 19th century house and then into a remodeled auto repair garage. Ten years ago, Harney & Sons expanded into a 90,000 square foot factory, where company operations currently stand.
Today, Harney & Sons continues to be a family affair. John Harney comes to work every day to work alongside his sons, Paul and Mike, who have divided up the major tasks of the business. Mike heads business and finance and travels around the world sourcing quality teas, and Paul manages the factory production and sales. Mike’s wife Brigitte is the head of retail. Michael’s sons Alex and Emeric are also very active in the company. Alex runs the cafe at the Millerton Shop and Emeric runs the SoHo shop, and they are also involved in the marketing and branding for the company.
Mike’s work sourcing the teas takes him around the world. “We go over to Asia to establish contacts, and we bring back lots of samples,” he says. After the tea is ordered, it is shipped from abroad in 60-pound boxes to the Harney & Sons factory, located in Millerton, NY. There, it is processed and repackaged into tea bags for Harney & Sons’ distinctive tins and boxes.
Harney & Sons recently announced its latest product, The Ambessa Tea Collection, a unique custom tea line created with celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson. The four teas of the Ambessa collection represent the four different phases in Samuelsson’s life. The Safari Breakfast tea reflects his Ethiopian roots: it is made from Kenyan black teas, sourced from the tea-growing country near his birthplace. The second tea, Lingonberry Green, is reminiscent of his Scandinavian upbringing. The third tea, Choco Nut Blend, is a black tea blend with warm chocolate notes, representing Samuelsson’s culinary training in Switzerland. The fourth and final tea of the Ambessa tea collection is the Earl of Harlem, nodding to Samuelsson’s Red Rooster Harlem restaurant.
Harney & Sons teas and products are available for purchase at its shops in SoHo and Millerton, as well as online and at a number of retailers nationwide, including Barnes & Noble, Whole Foods, Williams-Sonoma, Hannaford and A Southern Season in Charleston, S.C. The teas can also be found on Delta Airlines in first class, business class and international cabins, as well as at the Hilton hotels, the Waldorf-Astoria and many restaurants.
For more information, contact Harney & Sons on the web at www.harney.com/, on facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Harney-Sons-Fine-Teas/49697304292, or on twitter at @HarneyTea.
By Lorrie Baumann
Just in case Texans didn’t have enough reasons to be proud of their state already, Market Street takes July of every year as an opportunity to add to those with a Best of Texas expo that helps Texans get better acquainted with the food and beverage bounty produced in the Lone Star State.
This year’s Best of Texas expo featured products ranging from Beanitos chips, Rhythm Kale Chips and Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa for the appetizer course to Scoops Ice Cream and Sticky Toffee Pudding along with about three dozen other brands and product categories that all originated in Texas.
“We do three or four of those kinds of events through the year. Best of Texas may be everyone’s favorite because our guests expect us to feature local products and provide them with local products,” said Eddie Owens, Director of Communications and Public Relations for United Supermarkets, LLC., the parent company of Market Street, which is coming up on its tenth anniversary in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
United now has 57 stores in Texas under four brands: United Supermarkets (36 stores), Market Street (11 stores), Amigos (three stores) and United Express (seven free-standing convenience stores and 18 other fuel stations with walk-in kiosks). A new United Supermarkets location and another Market Street store are under construction, and a new Amigos store, a brand designed for Hispanic communities, is scheduled to be built next year.
Market Street, the company’s specialty foods retail chain, is known in north and west Texas for three annual month-long expos: Best of Texas, Healthy New You, which focuses on health and wellness and is held in January, and Entertaining Made Easy, which takes place each November.
Healthy New You includes some regular vendors, especially those who make health and body care products, and health screenings are also offered through nonprofit partners like American Diabetes Association. The Best of Texas expo is a sampling event with stations located throughout the stores. “We featured at least one product from every department of the store each weekend. If you came in the first weekend in July, you would not see the same products that you would see the second weekend,” Owens said.
The showcase for Texas products meets a need for Market Street guests, who, along with many other Americans, are increasingly more concerned about food safety and ethics. “There is a growing urgency for folks who want to know where their products are coming from. They want to buy close to home,” Owens said. “We’re trying to meet that need. We’re hoping that once they’re exposed to those products, guests will keep coming back to purchase them.”
Customers are also encouraged to keep coming back by a vigorous social media effort along with Market Street’s weekly newspaper advertising. The expo events are marketed in the weekly ads as well as in ROP (run-of-press) ads in the same editions of the newspapers during the weeks in which the expo is happening. Notices are also pushed out on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. The expos are celebrated with occasional radio remotes as well. “The whole point is to generate some excitement,” Owens said.
In addition to the events that take place in all 11 Market Street stores, there are two Market Streets in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex that include cooking schools. Both of those stores are larger than the other nine Market Street stores, which range from 65,000 to 71,000 square feet, and include a larger kitchenware department as well as a classroom and demonstration area that are large enough for hands-on classes taught by the company’s corporate chef and other chefs from the community and staffed by Market Street team members who handle registrations, clean-up and all the other tasks associated with running a successful culinary education program.
“On the other end of the scale, there’s a new store under construction in Flower Mound that’s downsized to only 55,000 square feet,” Owens said. He noted that United has been seeking to enter the Flower Mound market for several years, and the store will face heavy competition from other grocery chains that operate 16 competitive stores within five miles of the new Market Street location. “We think that this store is going to be our prototype for new stores for the foreseeable future. We think we can compete better with this size store,” he said.