DEARBORN, Michigan – For the second year, Westborn Market has judged and selected three winners from the clients and vendors exhibiting products at the Making It In Michigan trade show for placement in their “Michigan Dome” sections of their three stores in Berkley, Dearborn and Livonia. “The Next SKU Could Be You” contest is hosted by the Michigan State University Product Center and was judged by Westborn Market President Mark Anusbigian, Marketing Director Bryan Bandyk and the entire management staff.
“I’m proud to offer this great opportunity as a retailer in Michigan to a Michigan-made manufacturer,” states Bandyk. “Not only do we get to see all these amazing products firsthand and talk to these manufacturers, we’re part of the process of hand selecting and voting on what we believe are the best items at the show and then guaranteeing those products and those manufacturers shelf space at no cost to them for an entire year.”
The three winners chosen this year are:
- Johnny Secreto BBQ Sauce and Seasonings. According to Bandyk, their products were chosen because of the flavor of the sauce and the unique flavor profiles of their seasonings. States owner John Coram, “I could not be happier. We are a new start-up less than a year old and Westborn took a chance on us that is opening new doors for a strong future.”
- Dago Joe’s Pasta Sauce. Says Bandyk, “Joe’s sauces were chosen because of the fantastic taste of his sauce and the fact that there are not many olive flavored local pasta sauces.” Owner Joe Sciamanna shares the Westborn Market goal of getting great food in the mouths of shoppers. “We are very excited that a well-known gourmet retail establishment that had never heard of us believed in us, is showcasing us as a winner and wants our unique brand to be a part of their team,” states Sciamanna.
- Esch Road Preserves, Salsas, and Fosters Fruit Toppings. Esch Road was chosen based on flavor profiles of the product line and the unique tastes of their Fosters line of infused fruit toppings. Says President Timothy Young, “The Westborn designation was an honor for us. Our staff has put a great deal of effort into launching a brand with integrity and value. Esch Road foods are derived from the Great Lakes and we give back to organizations that work to protect and preserve our state’s greatest asset. Winning this distinction from Westborn Markets was instrumental in brining some attention to our efforts and we’re delighted to be in their stores.”
The criteria used to pick the winners is as follows:
- Taste profile and distinctive flavor
- Packaging and presentation
- Sell-ability in their particular product categories
- How the product fits in a category that is over saturated or under-served
Other products selected for product trial in the three Westborn Market locations are:
- Thyme & A Bottle Pickles and Vinegars
- Jar Head Salsa and Chips
- The Swedish Pancake Company Pancake Mix
- Max’s Granola
- Cozette Coconut Bites
- Thokku South Indian Spiced Relish
- Cream and Caramels Caramel Candies and Sauce
- Southwestern Michigan Buttery Fruit Butters
- City Girls Soap
- Little Diablo Salsa
- Slow Jams Preserves
- Crunch Granola
“This is a great opportunity for companies, whether they are start-ups, young products, or those still building awareness,” states Becky DeYoung, Innovation Counselor at the MSU Product Center. “This trade show helps our clients learn what it takes to showcase their products in this type of venue, talk to buyers, and sell their products to the average consumer. They are getting three separate business experiences in one awesome day of networking.”
About Westborn Markets
For more than 40 years, the family-owned, Michigan-based business has been dedicated to bringing the freshest and finest quality, produce, meats, cheeses and specialty groceries to the metropolitan Detroit market. Westborn Markets’ commitment to freshness, variety and uncompromised customer service, fuels their passion as a specialty food retailer. Inside the stores, the shopping experience is visually attractive and capable of inspiring health through good eating at any level.
About the MSU Product Center
Founded in 2003, the MSU Product Center helps Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the agriculture, natural resources and bio-economy sectors. The Center’s statewide network of innovation counselors provide business counseling support to Michigan residents interested in starting or expanding a business or product line.