Grocery Outlet to kick off efforts with PR21

BERKELEY, CA: Grocery Outlet, with more than 110 stores in eight states, will use PR for the first time in its 56-year history.

BERKELEY, CA: Grocery Outlet, with more than 110 stores in eight states, will use PR for the first time in its 56-year history.

The bargain-centric grocery chain has signed PR21 as its first PR agency.

"We are really trying to brand ourselves, and we realize that PR can play a major role in that," said John Wylie, VP of advertising. "We've seen Starbucks and Krispy Kreme do a good job branding themselves without a lot of advertising.

"We've seen the strength of PR at the cash register, by having the right article placed," he added. "But we've done very little of that."

"They offer great brands at a bargain," said Rowan Benecke, SVP and GM of PR21's San Francisco office. "We want to promote the store manager in each market as a local hero, as a sense of community is important to the company. We also want to better establish the company at a corporate level."

Ultimately, PR21 will help Grocery Outlet build greater awareness of the company's brand, Wylie said.

"We are considered by the industry as part of what is called an extreme-value retailer," Wylie explained. "We buy close-outs, products that have a package or label change, products intended for foreign sales that don't go overseas. We are in the business of providing bargains for those who must be on a budget, and for people who are just bargain hunters."

PR21 was hired because "from a creative standpoint, we felt they would bring the most to the party," said Wylie. "They had the most unique ideas. They are very smart people with a good track record."

Benecke said the win marks a return to the San Francisco office's consumer roots. When the office opened in 1999, one of its first clients was The Sharper Image. But like many Bay Area offices, PR21 soon chased hi-tech clients. Grocery Outlet is part of PR21's effort to make the office more diverse.

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