The Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Assoication (TGCSA) Convention is a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs to get their products in mainstream grocery stores. The 2018 Convention was held here in Chattanooga on June 8th at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
TGCSA is the strong voice of Tennessee’s food industry before the state’s policy makers and regulators. Likewise, they work to advance changes that benefit retail and wholesale members and their customers.
2018 marks TGCSA’s 40th anniversary, and the 39th anniversary of the annual Convention & Expo. Pick Tennessee Products has been active participant since 2012, and celebrating their sixth year participating in the convention.
Pick Tennessee is part of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, which means that they are a non-for-profit service dedicated to connecting people everywhere to Tennessee farms, farmers, farmers markets and all the great things that come from local farms and food businesses.
Pick Tennessee can help you find about 2,500 individual Tennessee farmers and farm-direct businesses who list almost 10,000 farm products! From produce to pumpkin patches, from honey and handmade soaps to farm direct cheeses and artisan chocolates, from farm-milled corn meal to making meals with seasonal recipes.
Pick Tennessee had about 50 of their members participate in the Convention, where they were able to showcase their homemade products to chain grocery stores, such as Kroger, Publix and Food City.
“Pick Tennessee is always excited to be part of this trade show and our partnership has yielded dozens of deals to put locally made products on shelves and in front of consumers,” says Greer Gill, Farmers Markets, CSA and Organics Marketing Specialist. “We’re proud that Pick Tennessee has created opportunities for producers in all regions of the state to gain notice from merchandisers all across Tennessee.”
To get the members comfortable with promoting their business and to give them the opportunity to win prizes, Pick Tennessee invited Chattanooga Magazine, Chattanooga Market, and Crabtree Farms of Chattanooga staff members to judge an elevator pitch contest. Pick Tennessee members had five minutes to present their product and were judged on taste/presentation, originality, and packaging.
Coming in first place was Smokin Joe’s out of Nashville. They offer original & Cajun fish batter, gourmet tartar sauce, and gourmet tartar sauce. All products are sold wholesale and retail. You can find Smokin’ Joe’s products at Kroger stores in the Nashville area or on his website.
Second place winner was Gypsy Circus Cider Company out of Kingsport. They are Tennessee’s first craft cidery. Gypsy Circus uses locally sourced apples and organic nutrients to produce a range of craft ciders. See which local restaurants and bars in Chattanooga that offer Gypsy Cider here.
Last but certainly not least, is third place winner, Winfrey Foods, out of Nashville. Winfrey Foods Royal Relish Chow Chow is a gourmet delight created with a family recipe that dates back to the 1930s. They recommend to try their Royal Relish with chicken, fish, pork, beef, vegetables or as an appetizer. The tantalizing taste will even dress up burgers, hot dogs, tuna and chicken salad.