Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 1:10 PM on Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Save-U-More opens doors to offer more fresh fruits, veggies

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

Free hot dogs, sausage samples, bites of fruit and pieces of pizza. Throw in hourly drawings for gift cards, packages of strawberries for the first 100 people, door prizes, balloons and candy and you've got all the makings of an open house.

That's exactly what Save-U-More had on Saturday to celebrate new state-of-the-art coolers in the produce section.

"We had 1,157 people come through from 11 to 5 p.m.," said Pam Munro, the store's produce manager. "It was very fast-paced. We were quite busy. And exhausted. Absolutely exhausted."

While the food and give-aways were a powerful draw, it was the eco-friendly coolers Munro was eager for people to see.

"They use 70 percent less energy than other coolers," she said. "Plus we put in LED lighting (in the coolers) because it saves so much electricity."

The coolers include a misting system, and make it possible to carry a wider variety of produce.

"By getting these coolers, we can carry a lot more stuff and it will hold it better, take better care of it," said Munro. "We couldn't ever carry red-leaf lettuce, that type of fragile thing. That's why we got this kind of cooler."

Save-U-More has been in the Homer area since 1990 and at its current site for approximately 10 years. Munro began with the Homer store about a year ago. Since arriving, she has been working on expanding the variety of produce the store offers.

"Also, I'm really looking forward to bringing in a lot more Alaska, local-grown products this season," she said. "I got started in it last year and am really going to expand on that this year. We had carrots and potatoes, but we are now looking at cabbage, broccoli, a lot of different vegetables."

She has held conversations with local growers about carrying their products and wants to expand her contacts.

Munro also is planning a return to case-lot canning sales. She did some last year, with a special pricing in general on case sales. Pleased with the public's response, Munro plans to expand this year's offerings.

"We brought in jalapenos, pickling cucumbers, apples of course," she said. "We do case-lot sales according to the season and they are going to start probably in late June, early July. The first thing that comes out is apricots."

If there's something customers want, but can't find it on Save-U-More's shelves, Munro is happy to help.

"We're working hard to bring in special requests," she said. "If someone is looking for something, if I can get it, I will bring it in for them."

Of the public's support on Saturday, Munro said, "We appreciated the customers coming in for our celebration and joining us for the party."

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben. jackinsky@homernews.com.