Specialty Food Magazine

MAY-JUN 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Shady Maple Farm Market History…In 1970, when owners Marvin and Miriam Weaver took over the business from Miriam's parents, they built on its success every year until they found themselves with a 45,000-square-foot store and 130 employees. Soon after in 2000, they opened the incredibly popular Smorgasbord restaurant that seats 1,200 people and offers 200 feet of all-you-can-eat authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Always looking for ways to better serve their customers, the Weavers saw a need to alleviate the long wait for dining so they added a banquet facility and, in 2009, did a massive remodel of the market, adding 14,000 square feet of retail space, a carport and a new cafe. "Our perishables are a huge draw, as is the in-house smokehouse, which creates 100 smoked meats, cheeses and fsh each week." Year Opened: 1970 Location: Lancaster, PA Type of Business: Supermarket Outstanding Features: House-smoked meats, fish and cheese, soup and salad department, Smorgasbord restaurant Contact: Linda Hibshman shady-maple.com From left: Elwood Martin, president; Phil Weaver, gift shop manager; Marvin Weaver,co-owner; Miriam Weaver, co-owner; Lyn Weaver, store manager W hat started as a roadside stand in Lancaster, Pa., has grown into so much more than an exceptional local supermarket. Shady Maple Farm Market has become a destination spot for tourists from neighboring states, who come every weekend to enjoy its many amenities and events. Points of Distinction…With 100,000 square feet of space devoted to the market and more than 800 employees across the entire business, Shady Maple is an institution in Lancaster County. "Our perishables are a huge draw, as is the in-house smokehouse, which creates 100 smoked meats, cheeses and fish each week," says Linda Hibshman, specialty manager at Shady Maple. An equally big draw is the soup and salad department, where a team prepares more than 100 items each morning. The on-site bakery offers more than 300 freshly made breads, cakes and pies, including its famed shoo-fly pie that gets shipped around the country through an online shopping program. The redesign allowed for expansion on popular segments. "We took on many new items and created a dedicated gluten-free, specialty and organic aisle," Hibshman says, with 44 feet each of gluten-free, organic, specialty and tea products. And customers clearly love it, with sales showing double-digit growth between 2010 and 2011. But what makes Shady Maple stand apart from the competition is the other elements of the business that complement the market, including Smorgasbord restaurant, which offers popular items like chicken potpie and Smorgie Cheese Steaks; an expansive gift shop that sells Amish handcrafted gifts and Pennsylvania Dutch foods and souvenirs; and the Shady Maple RV Center, a full-service dealership and rental agency, a draw for weekend tourists. How It Keeps Innovating…Customer service has always been paramount at Shady Maple. "We'll continue to listen to what our customers are asking for," Hibshman says. A main point of pride is that the staff takes customer requests very seriously. "There are some weeks where we'll have 10 to 12 requests and we do our best to bring them all in." They pay special attention to the gluten-free requests. "With celiac disease, we have to hear what [customers] are saying, especially since it's affecting every age group now." Going forward the business will continue to focus on the areas that have proven successful, continually adding new items, developing creative merchandising, running demos and staying on consumers' minds through weekly advertising. "The people I work for are giving and phenomenal people," notes Hibshman, "and they're committed to supporting their employees and customers." As owner Martin Weaver is known to say: "Give the customer quality food and service, and you will have a customer for life."—D.S. MAY/JUNE 2013 65

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