Bush Brothers Co. Looks to Hispanic Moms

The Knoxville-based bean products manufacturer is dispatching a mobile kitchen to six cities in six months. They are building one-on-one interaction with target customers - Hispanic moms.

In addition to bean samples and recipes for the moms, Bush Brothers wants to attract the whole family with attractions like an inflatable soccer game, loteria (Mexican bingo), mariachi music and "block parties" thrown in Hispanic communities using the company's traveling kitchen as a centerpiece.

"We don't go out and try to be a brand we're not," said Michael Weirick, Bush's Hispanic marketing manager. "We go out there and say 'Gringos, pero muy buenos,' which means we're an American brand, but we're the very best. We're going to go out and learn with this consumer and grow with this consumer so we can be the brand that they know and choose and love."

Weirick supported the plan with numbers. According to Bush, one out of every four babies born in the United States is Hispanic, and in 20 to 30 years the proportion of Hispanic consumers is expected to double. Also important to Bush Brothers, whose products are 95 percent bean-based, is market research that indicates up to one-third of the beans sold in the United States is purchased by Hispanic households.

At the Thursday launch of the mobile kitchen and tour, Bush Brothers employees kicked soccer balls and sampled beans at the company's West Knoxville headquarters. The tour will go to Texas cities Dallas, Houston and San Antonio as well as Chicago, Atlanta, and Raleigh, N.C., over the next six months. The Bush team's exploits will be chronicled on MySpace.

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