For the 10th year, Bryan Hooper, frozen foods manager at the Belton Hy-Vee, can be called a champion.
Again this year, Hooper received two gold awards and one silver award from the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association in October. The awards are recognition from an NFRA national contest held in July: Summer Favorites Ice Cream and Novelties promotion.
Hooper worked on the displays with his Hy-Vee team, his wife – who is a graphic designer – and a Blue Bunny representative.
The Belton Hy-Vee received gold in the “In-Store Display” and “In-Store Event” categories. The store also received a silver for the “Community Involvement” category.
“I have been competing every year since 2007, and have won every year except for a year when I was exempt from participating due to winning the coveted Amber Penguin award,” Hooper said. “My store director, Jesse Thorson, arranged for me to go to Orlando to attend the NFRA convention as a reward for my 10 years of winning. It was surreal to actually be able to collect my awards after all these years. I very much appreciated it.”
This year, Hooper and his team chose a penguin theme.
“The NFRA’s emblem is a penguin, so that may or may not have increased our chances of winning,” he joked.
The store had huge displays with penguins that seemed to be sliding down icebergs and leaping into the air and landing on the next aisle over. There were Eskimos and polar bears scattered on the display.
Hooper also included National Bomb Pop Day festivities with the entry as the in-store event.
My 6-year-old daughter is very photogenic and is ever-ready to eat popsicles and smile for the camera,” Hooper said. “She has actually become a good luck charm for us. She even drew a penguin for the display that was featured on the big screen at the NFRA conference.”
For community involvement, the store again featured a Boy Scout troop from Belton, who sold Bomb Pops for a quarter. The troop received all proceeds, and plans to use the funds for upcoming camping trips.
The whole promotion was a success, enjoyed by both employees and customers alike.
“One of the biggest crowd-pleasers was the balloon artist,” Hooper said. “The delight on the children’s faces when they see a balloon turned into their favorite animal lights up the room.”