Background photo by C.E.H. Wiedel.

Gelson’s to hold second entrepreneurial pitch event in September

In the wake of strong response to its inaugural pitch event for innovative local product creators, Gelson’s has decided to hold a second this year, broadening its scope and categories. “Gelson’s Local Discoveries,” a platform to pitch new and promising products to be sold in all 27 Gelson’s stores across Southern California, will take place at the Gelson’s distribution center in Santa Fe Springs on September 10.

Limited pitch spots are available – 70 for Center Store as well as 15 for Fresh, including newly added produce and floral categories and purveyors of meat.

The event is open to local vendors within 50 miles of a Gelson’s store, spanning L.A., Orange, San Diego, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Bernardino counties. Contenders will each be given 25 minutes to pitch products to senior Gelson’s buyers between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Applicants should be prepared to explain what distinguishes the product, including any attributes like organic, gluten free, vegan, etc. In addition to helping selected products reach consumers through shelf space, Gelson’s will also actively promote the winners in-store, online and via local media. To apply, visit or click the Local Discoveries link on the bottom of the home page.

The first “Gelson’s Local Discoveries” took place June 6. Among other products, Gelson’s chose three salsas from Santa Barbara-based family business Casa de Comer. Praised by Gelson’s senior buyers for its unique, smoky flavor, the company’s all-natural salsa marries the authentic flavors of Mexico with the open-flame cooking style of California’s Central Coast. Of their participation in the June 6 event, company principal Silvia Franco Comer said, “We came in feeling nervous and excited to introduce our salsas and walked away feeling like we were just ‘Discovered’! A slingshot opportunity for a small family business that started out of the kitchen.” Casa de Comer debuts in Gelson’s (by the deli section) on August 12.

Over the years Gelson’s has been proud to help launch many other local brands, including BJ’s Brewhouse Beer, Califia Farms, Chica’s Chips, Coolhaus Ice Cream, Groundwork Coffee and Health-Ade Kombucha. Its commitment to new and unique products is one reason that, among 96 grocery brands across the country, Consumer Reports ranked Gelson’s #4 in the entire U.S. and #1 in the West.

“The response was so encouraging that we decided to make this a twice-annual event, and will likely hold them in the spring and fall next year,” explained John Bagan, Chief Merchandising Officer for Gelson’s. “We look forward to meeting new entrepreneurs and are excited to be introduced to some terrific local discoveries to surprise and delight our customers.”

About Gelson’s

Gelson’s currently operates 27 full-service specialty grocery stores in Southern California. Each Gelson’s Market features the full amenities of a traditional supermarket, with the local flavor of a neighborhood market. Their high standards – for quality, value and freshness; unsurpassed service; and attention to detail – define the ultimate grocery shopping experience. With over 65 years’ experience, Gelson’s in-house experts know Southern California’s lifestyle and are driven to find only the best foods and exclusive values for their customers. Gelson’s is particularly known for flavorful, hand-selected produce, the best and freshest cuts of meat and seafood, and Chef-prepared signature recipes. This experience is rounded out by professionally designed floral arrangements, and a convenient selection of the highest quality grocery items. Find out why Life Tastes Better Here® at

1 Comment

  1. We are very excited about this opportunity and hope we are chosen to pitch our innovative, bagless dissolvable teas that are functional, eco friendly and made in sunny California!

Comments are closed.