Palmer’s: One market, many stories to tell

Palmer’s Marketing Director Valerie Robbins, Market Co-owner Cindy Palmer Dean and Junior Designer Paula Araujo.
Palmer’s Marketing Director Valerie Robbins, Market Co-owner Cindy Palmer Dean and Junior Designer Paula Araujo.

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When Palmer’s Market is bustling and online orders are keeping staff on their toes, the Palmer’s Marketing team can breathe of a sigh of relief.

From the office just below the grocery store, a two-person marketing team is constantly designing and honing the unique message the family-owned business has to tell, via web, weekly flyers, email, social media and more.

“I often say our job is to make everyone upstairs a little crazy,” Marketing Director, Valerie Robbins said. “Especially when the holidays hit, if I go upstairs and see things are a little hectic, I know we did our job.”

With Junior Designer Paula Araujo, Valerie says marketing the Noroton store is similar to promoting multiple businesses at the same time.

“It’s like working for ten stores, all under one roof,” Valerie said. “We’re promoting a butcher shop, a catering & events company, a florist, a bakery, a boutique gift shop, a gourmet grocer — all of our departments.”

Coming from a corporate background as an art director for a marketing agency, Valerie immediately felt the difference in working for a family-owned business. “You almost feel like you have a stake in the company,” Valerie said.

Palmer’s Co-owner Cindy Palmer Dean works closely with the marketing team and, when she isn’t there is in person, Valerie asks herself: “What would Cindy do?”

“Cindy has been involved in this business as long as she’s been alive, and her father and grandfather before that, so it’s wonderful to have that institutional memory,” she said.

The anti-corporate, personable feel of working there carries over to how Palmer’s reaches out to customers. Social media posts — in addition to sharing what’s new – highlight long-term store employees or other items unique to the local market. With weekly email newsletters, the marketing team is careful to keep customers informed but never bombard inboxes.

Growing PalmersDarien.com has been one of Valerie’s top projects since she started four years ago and it’s always ongoing.

“People still love the experience of coming to Palmer’s and walking around the store but a lot of customers are also interested in the convenience of ordering online,” Valerie said. “You may have a free 30 minutes on your lunch break where you can go online, get your ordering done for a party, or send flowers for a friend’s birthday.”

Last year, Palmer’s Catering launched online ordering for the holiday menus. The launch was incredibly successful, making it was a record-setting fourth-quarter.

This week, new online ordering options launch for both Palmer’s Gift Baskets and Palmer’s Flowers. The Palmer’s e-commerce options will continue to expand in the future, Valerie said.

The website, in addition to Palmer’s social media, is another way to communicate with customers. “A social post has the ability to reach someone who has never been to Palmer’s,” Valerie said. “It’s a great way to increase our reach.”

No matter how they spread the word, the Palmer’s Market message, overall, is one the marketing team is happy to share, according to Valerie.

“People sometimes ask me ‘are you a Palmer?’ I say ‘no, but I feel like I am,’” Valerie said.

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