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By Barbara Grondin Francella
ERIE, Pa. -- The team at Country Fair Inc. and a number of its vendor partners are throwing themselves into a recent episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," providing products and services for the production of the popular television show as it arrives in the chain's hometown this week.
The c-store operator will be providing its proprietary Roaster's Cup coffee, fresh-brewed on site, and private-label bottled water to cast, crew and approximately 1,000 volunteers 24 hours a day during the weeklong production. Details are still in flux as the production gears up and Country Fair employees wait until Thursday, when one lucky local family gets the famous "knock on the door" letting them know they have been selected to receive a new home.
"We are in a bit of a holding pattern right now," Stephen Seymour, director of personnel for the 75-store chain, told CSNews Online. "We can't go into motion until they knock on that door. The location is still mystery. It's exciting!"
This Saturday, during "tear down" day, Country Fair's promotional "Weenie Wagon" concession trailer and a caravan of supporting vehicles will be at the project site before 6 a.m., offering proprietary Roasters Cup coffee, cappuccino and hot chocolate, and doughnuts for the roughly 600 people on hand. That afternoon, Country Fair will serve lunch, including hot dogs, chips, ice cream and beverages.
July 2, is "Move that bus!" day, the climatic house reveal. But Country Fair's eventual participation began six months ago, when the producers of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" came to the Erie, Pa., market to scout possible locations and contractors. On June 8, Country Fair was contacted by Maleno Construction, the local builder who is providing the new home. June 11, they had their first meeting.
"We really ramped up fast," noted Guy Strayer, director of foodservice. "Soon after our first meeting, we committed to providing six pallets of bottled water—more than 250 cases—and to be the exclusive provider of coffee. By the day after we were the exclusive provider of hot beverages for the commissary tent for all of the volunteers This is a great opportunity to get our branded product out into the public in a new way. Our employees will be on hand, making sure the equipment is working and the product is served correctly. We'll be fully engaged the entire process."
Vendors participating with Country Fair include McCormick Coffee, which is setting up the equipment and providing the coffee and cappuccino; Krispie Kreme; Smith Provision Co. (hot dogs); Meadow Brook (cold beverages); Troyer Farms (chips); Tripifoods; JeriLu (fresh cut produce); and Perry’s (ice cream). "These vendors jumped at the chance to participate," Seymour said.
Country Fair's Advertising Manager Shannon Warchol is producing a daily blog at http://cofaircommunity.blogspot.com, detailing the experience of the retailer's 50-plus employee volunteers and others involved in the week's activities.
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