Miles James Develops Gourmet Line For Sam?s Clubs
Miles James and James Lambeth, owners of James at the Mill, the renowned Johnson restaurant, have developed a gourmet line of food that is currently being test marketed at the Sam’s Club in Springdale.
Sam’s Club executives asked Miles James, chef at the restaurant, to develop a gourmet food line to help upgrade the chain’s food selection, says Lambeth.
The pilot program began June 3, the week of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. annual shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, to give Sam’s Club managers from across the country a chance to sample the products.
“We are negotiating,” says Lambeth. “We’ve been going back and forth on this contract for about a month now.”
James is currently producing 10 meals to sell at the Sam’s Club. None of them is frozen. The meals, which have a shelf life of two days, are large enough for at least two people and cost from $5 to $15 each, Lambeth says.
“It’s a fresh product line,” says James. “Sam’s is trying to be the leader in home meal replacement.”
The entrees being prepared this month by James for the store are “wild mushroom-crusted chicken with asparagus and twice-baked potatoes; braised beef with bow-tie pasta, fresh buttered carrots and wild portabello mushroom red wine sauce; homemade meatloaf with red bliss mass potatoes, green beans, corn and shiitake mushroom gravy; and pesto-crusted fresh Atlantic salmon.” Salads and side items are also available.
If an agreement is reached, Lambeth says James at the Mill gourmet foods will be available in about 30 Sam’s Clubs nationwide by November.
James says workers at his restaurant have been preparing the meals through the night so they can be available to Sam’s Club each morning. If a contract is signed with the company, the meals will be produced elsewhere according to Miles James’ recipe.
Lambeth says he and James are also talking with Tyson Foods Inc. about a similar venture.