Braum's begins selling veggies, fruit at dairy stores

Tuesday, June 10th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Tomatoes, bananas and potatoes have started appearing on Braum's shelves among the ice cream and milk as the company expands into the produce business.

Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores is selling fruit and vegetables in 20 of its stores in central Oklahoma. The company, which has 279 stores in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Texas, plans to put produce in additional stores soon, said Kenny McDonald, produce operations manager for the company.

A dozen of the stores already carrying fruit and vegetables are in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

Braum's has not committed retail space to produce in all of its stores because some locations are too small, McDonald said.

The dairy store is offering 63 produce items, and packaged salad mixes and cut fruit dishes are the most popular, he said.

``The things that offer convenience seem to be moving really well,'' McDonald said.

Braum's increased grocery selection targets shoppers who are in a hurry, in addition to strengthening the company's existing products, McDonald said.

``It's there to enhance the milk and dairy sales and make shopping one-stop,'' McDonald said.

The ease of Braum's storefront parking and lack of large crowds helps lure customers who don't want to go to a giant supermarket for just a few items, McDonald said.

Braum's shopper Pam Traylor said the produce prices are slightly higher than in grocery stores, but the convenience of one-stop shopping is appealing.

``For a quickie like this, it's great,'' said Traylor, who held a sack of tomatoes. ``It fills the bill.''

Braum's is ordering its produce from distributors in California, Arizona and Texas.

The company has sold dairy products from its Oklahoma farm for 35 years. Braum's has a milking facility and food manufacturing plant in Tuttle and a small birthing and milking center near Shattuck on the Oklahoma-Texas border.