Colemans plays name game with rare-coloured lobsters

Newfoundland chain asks shoppers to help name blue and orange lobsters

Bonnie and Clyde. Freedom and Freeme. Cuddles and Fluffy.

Those are just a few of the many colourful entries so far in the "Name the Lobsters" contest put on by Colemans, Newfoundland's biggest family-owned food store chain.

The company's Gardens store in Corner Brook, N.L. received the two rare-coloured lobsters—an orange female and a blue male—in a shipment from local suppliers last month.

The store donated the two new crustaceans to the nearby Bonne Bay Marine Station, a marine ecology research centre and aquarium in Norris Point, N.L.

The store gave another blue lobster to the facility two years ago. Blue lobsters are considered rare. Only one in every two million lobsters is blue.

Dubbed Coleman, the lobster has become a star attraction at the aquarium.

"He's a big hit with the kids in their touch tank," said Judy Bennett, who handles public relations for the Coleman Group.

Contest participants are eligible to win a season passes to the aquarium and a $50 gift card from Colemans in a draw on May 31.

The contest is just the latest in the myriad of public events that Colemans puts on year-round.

Last month, for example, was the annual Seal Fest, when pelts, slippers and loin cuts are sold in Colemans stores. "We like to promote pelts and seal meat," said Bennett.

Another major event is the Watermelon Queen in July.

Each year, Colemans hosts two Watermelon Queens: the winner of the national Watermelon Queen pageant in the U.S., as well as one state pageant winner. They spend time visiting events across Newfoundland as well as doing in-store visits at Colemans.

"Is it popular? Oh my lord, it's huge," said Bennett, who spends two weeks travelling around the island with the American pageant winners. "It's good for business, too. I mean, who would you rather have in your store to sell watermelons, a beauty queen or a bare-chested farmer in dungarees?"

The Watermelon Queen is a southern U.S.-based contest. It's the second-oldest beauty pageant in the U.S. after Miss America.

Other Coleman-sponsored events include the Coleman Coca-Cola Bike Rodeo on July 1, and the Cheese Fest in December, an event that promotes cheese and road safety during the festive season, in conjunction with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"We do tons of events because the grocery business is a lot more than sales and selling groceries," said Bennett.  "We create magic in our stores.  Our customers love it and our employees love it, and everybody has fun."

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