Experience the flavors of holidays at Taste of Ric’s Saturday, December 8

Event focuses on local producers

By BETH ALTENA

Plenty for all, the samples from the Deli Department include generous portions, a trademark of the Taste of Ric’s events. Unlike some sample events where they offerings are tasty but tiny, the Taste of Ric’s always features very generous portions.

Expect some twenty-five mostly Michigan based food producers, live holiday music, carriage rides and Santa in a party atmosphere at Ric’s Food Center, 6767 Belding Road Saturday, December 8 from noon to 3 p.m. Ric’s is offering their annual Holiday Taste of Ric’s with lots of free food samples and face-to-face time with the owners of the companies that make it.

Store Director David Brickner said the days leading up to the Taste of Ric’s events are always charged with excitement knowing thousands of customers will visit the store in a matter of just a few hours.

The Taste events are an opportunity to let regular customers know how much they are appreciated and a welcome for new customers to explore the store. Free food samples, music and lots of smiles are always abundant.

The Rockford Ric’s has become well established since the family-owned chain built the store. Lately there has been a surge in feedback from customers using Facebook and texting. Brickner described how a question about ingredients for Thanksgiving dinners resulted in thirty or forty responses.

This little one really enjoyed the slice of fresh orange from the Ric’s Food Center produce department.

Brickner said it has been interesting to see the interpretations people come up with using social media and he is excited about the prospects of interacting with a whole new group of customers. “A lot of people are quiet computer communicators,” he described. The store can be texted at textricsrfto68398.

After so many Taste of Ric’s events, Brickner said his vendors almost have a radar for when the planning begins and contact him before he can contact them, in some cases. He appreciates the enthusiasm they continue to show for the interactive events. It is remarkable how many of the vendors are based in Michigan, and some are as close as Grand Rapids.

Live music, last year including the amazingly talented Bismark, charms visitors. Here Bismark posed with a couple of his fans.

Dealing with a local company has many benefits, Brickner described. He said having a real and personal relationship with the people who run the companies that make the food on the shelves at Ric’s is nice. “We have a vendor based in Atlanta, and they are great to work with, but when you have a company based locally who you know really well you have a better relationship.”

In addition to the very popular samples from Ric’s Deli Department and Meat Department, some return favorites will be Dorothy and Tony’s, Boars Head, Frito Lay, Kellogg, Kiebler, and many others.

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