Monday, October 28, 2013

251st Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
Small Reminder with Huge Potential

While checking out, at least a half dozen Sprouts customers hurried over to the One Can A Week display on Saturday and snatched a can or two to add to their order. The cashiers encouraged them with a smile and quickly scanned the items so they could put them in the food bin.

One young lady even grabbed a can from the table, paid for it and returned it to its spot on the table. Since that particular can had already been paid for—some folks hand their donations directly to me which I stack on the table—I thought, “wait” and even held up one finger. I stopped myself, not wanting to embarrass her and waited until she left the supermarket before I took a can from the display and put it in the bin.

All this scurrying made me think about the folks who had talked to me weeks earlier about putting up a One Can A Week reminder sign as they came into Sprouts to shop. Those two displays Anthony built did just that but now they’re gone. With the large One Can A Week display in the exit aisle, we are back to no reminders again.

There are shelf talkers in the canned goods aisle but there is a lot going on with pricing stickers everywhere. Customers probably won’t pay much attention to them. Then it dawned on me. How about putting a shelf talker in the shopping basket? There’s no clutter there and it is a gentle reminder.

With my wicker collection basket under my arm—Richard does not want me to let the cash donations out of my sight—I walked over to the door and returned to the table with a shopping basket. The shelf talker looked great inside the basket. Then I took the basket over to Rosemary’s checkout line and showed it to her. Rosemary is my Sprouts idea sounding board. I get her opinion on everything I’m thinking before I make a presentation to Richard. She’s never wrong.

She loved the idea and suggested I put them on the shopping carts, too. I was going there eventually but Rosemary is quick to see all options.

A few minutes later Richard came by and I showed him the reminders and he really liked the idea. He could read the small sticker on the shopping cart but I suggested that it should be bigger because older folks like me would have trouble with legibility.

I had enough shelf talkers to decorate at least 15 shopping baskets. It will be fun to see if those few reminders increase donations in the food bin this week. Tomorrow I will order more stickers from Signs Now and ask them to help me create a shopping cart sign.

The best part about making all of these One Can A Week marketing discoveries is I’ll be ready to answer the call when Sprouts management decides to go ahead with the program in all 160 stores around the southwest.

On Saturday Ramón Valadez, Pima County Board of Supervisor, Chair, presented me and 29 other community minded folks this very handsome certificate of appreciation. He cited my work with the One Can A Week program.

I’d like to cite Council Member Richard Fimbres for recommending me to receive this award and encourage you to vote Tuesday, November 5th for Richard, my friend, a very smart politician who gets it.

Every time my truck tells me something is amiss, I head for AutoZone to get a free reading. On Wednesday my battery warning light came on and it turned out the alternator was going on the fritz. Brake Masters would charge me $350 to fix everything. I decided to listen to my friends at AutoZone and buy thealternator for $104. This meant the Brake Masters bill would only be $79 to install the part and they would have my truck back on the road in 2.5 hours.

The guys at AutoZone spent some quality time helping me make the right decision. At the end of our conversation, Scott closed the hood and handed me $3.00. “I always wanted to donate and this is my first chance.”  

The moral of the story is when your car’s warning light comes on head to community minded AutoZone. It’ll save you heartache and lots of money.  

Dumpsters In The Hood
November 1 – 5, three FREE roll-offs will be in the Miles Neighborhood. Pitch most everything except tires and paint.

1S. Martin Avenue between E. Miles Street & 13th Street

2E. 12th Street between S. Cherry Street and S. Vine Avenue (Old Red Cross parking lot)

3.  S. Cherry Street between 13th Street & E. Manlove Street (Next to baseball field)

We collected a total of 173 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $32.00, a $25.00 check and $7.00 in cash.

We collected a total of 173 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $32.00, a $25.00 check and $7.0 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Monday, October 21, 2013

250th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
Opening Night for One Can  A Week

When I arrived at Wilbur’s Sunday around 6 pm, Pete Swan was setting up and testing the sound system. He even had electronic hand held sound monitors he used to check the balance in the back of the room. Most jazz bands I played with just set up and started to play. Pete’s attention to detail is better on fans’ ears no matter where they sit in the room.

The moment he finished he called me up to the stage to help him kick off his One Can A Week program. He stood a few feet away from me with his own mic and interjected a comment or two while I talked to the folks. What I really liked was Pete’s obvious commitment to One Can A Week. He runs a tight ship which is evident in the quality of his musical productions. So One Can A Week will just fall in line.  

On the first break, Pete’s sat with me a moment. A moment is all you get because he is ever on the move stage managing and tweaking his musical project.  We discussed how I would handle delivering the food to the food bank and where he would store the drum bin during the week. Then he popped up and told me to follow him.

Near the front entrance of the hotel he saw Theresa Cesare, the wife of the owner of the Viscount Suite Hotel. Pete asked where he might store the drum bin and then introduced me. Theresa told him in her office and shook my hand. Pete took off again.

With a few seconds, Theresa and I were taking like new friends. She was an elementary school teacher and now she helps run her husbands hotel directing all aspects of their electronic marketing efforts. When I mentioned Sprouts on Speedway and Richard Rodriguez the manager, she said Richard was a dear friend. Next we discussed community service and Theresa told me about their mission to incorporate community service in all of their dealings with their customers.

Turns out that this was some opening night for One Can A Week … and me, too. I have been looking for someone to suggest a few doors I might open in the Tucson business community and Theresa said she would try to help.

I believe business can and will help solve many of our social ills, and it will happen through the support of community service projects like the one Richard and I have established at the Sprouts Farmers Market. Now something similar is possible at the Viscount Suite Hotel.

While I do what I do, why don’t you get together with a few friends and join us at Wilbur’s next Sunday at 6 pm. The food is great, as are the spirits and of course, the music that makes it so much fun. There is no cover but there is a tip jar if you like what you hear. And don’t forget to bring a can of food for the hungry kids and their parents. And let me tell you, Sunday nights at Wilbur’s is the best way to enjoy the calm before having to greet those stormy Mondays.

Thirteenth Truck Load
This week’s total amounted to 490 lbs. Sprouts donated 100 lbs., Pete Swan Productions, 22 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood and Axis Food Mart, 368 lbs.

On Permanent Display
With the holidays fast approaching, Anthony decided to build a One Can A Week display in the front of the Sprouts store. Now the food bin does not stand alone.

To help remind and encourage shoppers to donate to the Community Food Bank, there are now a number of small shelf talkers in the canned food section.

They say, “Please don’t forget to donate One Can A Week to the Community Food Bank.” Now isn’t that subtle and clever marketing.

Albertsons Does It Again
About every two months, Albertsons has a terrific sale on VanCamp Pork and Beans … 50 cents a can.  This week they offered 10 lbs. of Idaho potatoes for $1.78. I hurried over to the Axis Food Mart and asked Maen if he had any money in his collection tin. After a quick count, Maen had just enough to cover 20 bags ($35.60) or 200 lbs. of great looking spuds.

We collected a total of 368 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $50.00, a $25.00 check and $25.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

249th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
New "Satellite Display" Launched

Whether he will admit it or not, Anthony, the Sprouts produce manager is an artist. What gave it away was the pride he took in building his displays. “Just a couple of hours ago this looked really good,” he said gesturing toward the display. “Now look at it, it’s a mess.” He paused a moment and fell back into his manager role. “I’m proud to be involved in this program because it is really working.”

Messy displays and a brimming shopping cart says it all. Sprouts customers are beginning to make donating to the Community Food Bank a weekly routine.

Before Richard Rodriguez, the store manager, implemented One Can A Week, his customers thought about feeding themselves and their families. Now many are not only thinking about their needs while shopping; they are also considering those in need and then they do something about it.

It’s fun to watch this change for the good every week, but I have to say, sharing this terrific social adventure with you is a lot of fun, too.

Photo by Paz Preciado
Three Years Running
Last Tuesday Our Family Senior Companion Program held its annual appreciation luncheon at the Casino Del Sol. (The food was really delicious, by the way.)

All of the Senior Companions were being honored for their important work in the community, and too, for their participation in the One Can A Week program.

Fran Coleman, the program manager invited me to hand out the One Can A Week certificates along side Patti Caldwell, the Executive Director, who personally presented each and every Senior Companion with the official Our Family Achievement Award.

As Fran called their names, the Senior Companions stood up at their table and Patti and I darted around the conference room delivering the documents. Patti was always a step ahead of me, not because she knew everyone— although that may have helped—but I just ate a full lunch.

In the beginning, One Can A Week was going to be a one year project for the Senior Companions. They like One Can A Week so much it is now an annual event. And I like them so much I’ll gladly dart around a room whenever they ask.

Fool Me Once
A couple of times I’ve delivered to the food bank when it was closed for a holiday. Now if I am not certain they are open I call. On Monday the operator answered and I asked. “Are you closed for the holiday?” She quickly replied, “Yes.”

Thinking they might have a skeleton crew on duty since a person did answer, I asked if the warehouse were also closed. Again she said, “Yes.”

The moment I drove up today Di, one of the very helpful crew members asked, “Where were you yesterday? We thought something was wrong.”

Turns out there was a new staffer handling the phones yesterday. But it really was my fault. When a person answers the phone at the food bank, they are open. Duh!

We collected a total of 130 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $4.00. 

See you Sunday,


Monday, October 7, 2013

248th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood One Can A Week Project

Hi Folks,
Silent Persuasion

“Sales is just a good conversation.” That is what someone told me when I began my career in sales and marketing 49 years ago. And I kept that common sense advice in mind over the years whenever I wanted to motivate folks with my copy or presentation. Along the way as my graphic design talent developed I realized that no words have to be spoken at all to make a sale.

When assigning projects to my artists at Merrill Lynch I would often remind them that the graphic is only meant to capture the reader’s attention. Then in less than a millisecond the reader should be absorbing the headline. If that doesn’t happen, you’ve lost the sale.

With the marketing of One Can A Week at Sprouts I decided to not say much more than “hello” and let the display, graphics and copy get into peoples’ hearts. They read, they feel, they make decisions and then they act. All in silence. I’m just the person there to make it real. The food bin is more important than I because it makes things happen. The food goes in and folks get fed. How simple. How easy.

And the unspoken truth is community service personally feels very good. When they talk themselves into participating once, many decide to give something every week just to experience that same good feeling week after week.

For some time now I have been publishing pounds collected along with an approximate number of people fed. With the Sprouts signage that comparison is prominently displayed and it is playing an important role in motivating donations. Poundage is a significant result but actually thinking about the people who are being helped is very humanizing.

The next sign I may create will be small and sit on the Spouts display table. “Quite, Please, We are Reading, Thinking … and Getting Ready to Act.”

Jazzing Up One Can A Week

After the first number in the second set at Wilbur’s Grill, Pete Swan, the drummer and manager of the Sunday evening musical event, took the mic and asked me to join him on stage.

“For a while now I have been collecting food for the Community Food Bank at the different venues I play,” Pete began. As I was driving down Broadway on my way to the food bank, I came upon the One Can A Week truck. Then I got an idea and called the number on the tailgate.”

Pete went on to explain that we stopped, talked about SwanRise Productions, his music company partnership with Sandy Riser and collecting food. While continuing our conversation, we placed the 118 lbs. of food he had in his trunk in the back of my truck and he handed me a $25.00 check. Before going our separate ways, Pete suggested we might join forces and create a real One Can A Week program for the jazz community here in Tucson

Pete then handed me the mic and I spoke for maybe three minutes describing One Can A Week and how they could help by bringing a food donation to Pete’s Sunday night Jazz event at Wilbur’s. When I mentioned that 25% of Tucson’s population is in need of food the room fell silent. So I said it again.

Before I handed the mic back to Pete, I suggested they check out One Can Week on the web and then help Pete in his effort to feed as many folks as possible.

Pete asked another drummer to sit in for a song or two and we talked outside. We discussed his collection bin which I suggested should be a big Conga Drum and he liked that idea. (Now where the heck am I going to find a big Conga Drum?)

We both think his endeavor—to feed hungry kids and their parents with his unique One Can A Week program—will ignite and unite the jazz community. Now we just have to create the right kind of signage for his gigs and the food will begin to roll in.

On a different note: Back in high school and college I was a jazz musician who played the string bass in modern jazz and Dixieland bands. Of course, the evening became a little nostalgic mostly because the musicians were top notch and the atmosphere upscale. Even my $14.95 angle hair and garlic shrimp dinner—the most expensive item on the menu— measured up.

I’m going back next Sunday to Wilbur’s Grill at the Viscount Suite Hotel on Broadway. Why not join me there at 6:30 pm for drinks, dinner and no cover. You know if I can enjoy an evening out someplace the prices are quite reasonable.

12th Truck Load
Burger King called again and donated 44 lbs. of buns. And just by chance Bill Carnegie, the Community Food Bank CEO was in the warehouse as I made my delivery. When he saw the buns he told someone to immediately take them over to where the sandwiches were being made.

Such speed is nothing new at the food bank. Food goes in and out of there like lightening. That’s why I love the place because they feed hungry folks NOW.

A total of 508 lbs. was collected this week: Burger King, 44 lbs.; SwanRise Productions, 118 lbs.; Sprouts, 150 lbs. and Miles Neighborhood, 196 lbs.

Happy Birthday, Anna, and thanks
Today is Anna’s tenth birthday but she celebrated it Saturday when more of her friends would be available for a party. She’s smart like that and always gets more presents. Anna also asked her friends to bring a donation for the Community Food Bank. That’s pretty smart, too, because this week her Miles Street donation was at least 30 pounds heavier than usual.

We collected a total of 196 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $30.00, a $25.00 check and $5.00 in cash.

See you Sunday,