When he was selected as one of five finalists for the Statesboro Herald’s third annual Grocery Grab, Stewart Bennett had advantages from the start – he actually had won a similar event years earlier and as an almost daily customer of Ken’s IGA in Brooklet, he knew exactly how the meat, his target, was organized.
And when his name was selected Saturday morning as the winner of the Herald’s 2016 Grocery Grab contest, Bennett said his focus became even sharper on what to do with his 60 seconds – nothing but steak.
Bennett’s plan proved near perfect, as he piled $1,013.12 worth of meat to the top of his buggy and it was all varieties of steaks: ribeyes, New York strips, T-bones, sirloins and the big prize, whole tenderloins. Bennett grabbed six tenderloins totaling $260, more than one-quarter of his total. In all, Bennett was able to cram 66 separate packages of steak in his cart.
“I didn’t think it was possible to get that much, no sir,” Bennett said.
Topping $1,000 also surprised Jason NeSmith, who manages the IGA store in Brooklet with his sister Jennie Bray.
“I always thought if someone did what Mr. Bennett did, they would get a high total, but I didn’t think a minute would be enough time to get $1,000 worth in a shopping cart,” NeSmith said. “Mr. Bennett and his wife are in here almost every day shopping. It couldn’t happen to a nicer family.”
Bennett said he didn’t know how big a cookout he would have in the future, but it would be “a big one.” His wife Edna said they would make room in their freezers for the 66 packages of meat.
“He did great,” she said about her husband’s effort.
Contestants in the two previous Grocery Grabs were able to get $557 and $298 of items in their carts, which made Bennett’s total all the more impressive.
“Mr. Bennett parked his cart right in front of the steak and didn’t move until his 60 seconds ran out,” said Jim Healy, operations manager for the Statesboro Herald. “We really appreciate Ken’s IGA partnering with us in this fun event. We had more than 2,000 entries this year and I expect it will grow next year.”
The other four finalists – Mark Durden and Madeline Hendley of Brooklet, John Wayne Darden of Statesboro and J.C. Warren of Sylvania – all received $50 shopping cards from Ken’s IGA.
“I’ll enter again next year,” Warren said. “Maybe I’ll get the big prize.”