Aristocrat In Burlap
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C. G. Rice had an easygoing, friendly personality and was well received wherever he made calls on Idaho® potato customers.

The effects of Rice's sales and public relations efforts became known in Idaho as shippers got reports from their customers that "the Idaho man" had called on them, and they were "very pleased with making his acquaintance."

As production increased and larger quantities of potatoes became available to sell, it became obvious that more manpower was needed if an adequate job of covering the country was to be done. To fill this need, the Potato Commission hired Dean Probert in July 1953. Dean had been a supermarket manager with the C. C. Anderson chain in Idaho and brought with him retail-merchandising experience that was to serve him well in his field job for the Potato Commission.

The Idaho field representatives participated in other conventions that were added to the calendar of annual events. The huge National Restaurant convention in Chicago became another showplace for the Idaho® potato exhibit and the Supermarket Institute convention was another regular event. Some years later, the School Lunch Convention was added to the list.

Competition became tougher and field calls more important and in December of 1957 Clyde Domeny was added to the Idaho field staff. Domeny had been schooled in Safeway and Albertson's stores in the Gem State. The field-merchandising staff developed a system of making the most important calls in the cities they visited and seeing as many other customers or potential customers as time allowed. They called on produce brokers, jobbers, carlot receivers, produce repackers, and chain-store buyers and merchandising executives. They often found themselves solving problems for Idaho shippers when a misunderstanding with the customer had developed or a "trouble car" was on the siding in a city that they were visiting.

The Idaho field staff never actually made sales or wrote orders, but their goodwill calls were an important factor in the Idaho promotional program. One of their important jobs was to make the customers aware of the Idaho promotional programs and relay orders for point-of-purchase display material, baked-potato flags, recipe folders, and other promotional aids that were provided by the Commission. They also made calls on newspapers and radio and television stations in the markets where Idaho potato advertising was run to solicit advertising help from the media. After their scheduled call list of important customers was taken care of in a given city, the Idaho field merchandisers made calls on individual supermarkets and restaurants to gather information and to promote the sale of more Idaho® potatoes.

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