A Berry Big Production

Film production crews and actors from across the country joined local residents on Main Street in downtown Berryville to record the roll-out of Wendy’s new “Berry Almond Salad”. Although the event, orchestrated by Red Tree Productions, a film and interactive media company with offices in Boston and New York City, shut down Main Street for most of the day, merchants and residents alike seemed pleased with both the food and event.

Berryville residents were thrilled to taste the new Wendys fare - Photo Edward Leonard

“I’m happy for Berryville and Wendy’s,” Clarke County Supervisor Pete Dunning said with a smile as he watched the activity on the street in front of the Berryville News Stand. “Anyone who does this much work for chicken salad and berries has got to get a lot of credit.”

According to Town Manager, Keith Dalton, Berryville town staff first met with a representative from the Red Tree Productions about the event on April 20th. Dalton said that preliminary discussions revolved around whether the event would occur.   After the Berryville venue was agreed on, the production team then had to reach agreement with their client.

“Nothing could be officially discussed in public prior to that agreement,” Dalton said.   “Once the Town was able to discuss this matter openly, affected businesses were formally contacted.”

The focus of the roll-out was a Berry Almond Chicken Salad that was previously tested in both Salt Lake City, UT and Richmond, VA markets. The dish contains blueberries, strawberries, almonds, and a fat-free raspberry vinaigrette made with açaî (ah-sigh-EE) juice.

Dalton said that in addition to receiving a $7,500 check from the production company, the event has provided many other positive benefits to the community.

“The production team has been in town for a week and has in that time patronized local businesses and we understand that the production company has partnered with numerous local businesses and property owners, including John H. Enders Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company,” Dalton said. “Because the production company hopes to draw over 300 people downtown, we feel that local businesses will benefit from that traffic and from their exposure to those visiting town.   We believe that this event will translate into excellent exposure for the town as a whole and will pay dividends for the community in the future.   We believe this is one of those “a rising tide lifts all ships” moments.

Dalton’s assessment was confirmed by merchants and residents alike.

Sweet Surrender bakery was transformed from cupcakes to video monitors as nearly a dozen producers and directors set-up monitors to review the footage and sound tracks being produced along Main Street.

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“This is kind of the central command station,” said bakery owner Glen Rohrbaugh who seemed to savor the break in routine from supplying cupcakes to kids and adults. “What else would you rather be doing on a Wednesday in Berryville?”

Berryville News Stand Owner, Glen Masters said that he was very pleased with the event.

“I think that it’s wonderful,” Masters said from behind his coffee counter. “Our business has done well today. The production crews have come in for coffee several times over the last few days and the regulars have been in too. This is bringing a lot of people into town and that’s great.”

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In addition to taking over the bakery, production crews transformed Bob’s Sports store into a make-up rooms of sorts not for people, but for salads.

“We are food stylists creating the salads that will be used in the close-up shots,” said a woman who identified herself as Sandy. Sandy, along with Leslie and Karen traveled from New York City to assist in the production. Each woman was carefully placing bits of lettuce and greens in bowls that would become picture-perfect finished salads.

Town manager Dalton said that costs for the event are being defrayed by the production company.

“The clean-up that we performed is a part of our annual clean-up that we always complete prior to Memorial Day and therefore do not represent any increased cost to the Town over normal operations. Clean up after the event will be performed by the production company,” said Dalton.

Dalton also said that costs associated with setting up, maintaining, and removing traffic control signs and barricades by Public Works will be reimbursed by the production company as will be the cost for having two off-duty officers on-site for the entirety of the street closure.

“Two police officers will be on duty during the event but will respond to other calls as needed as they normally would,” Dalton said. “No reimbursement will be made for these officers.”

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Many people standing in the shade along the south side of Main Street observing the frenetic activity in preparation for the event voiced unanimous support.

“I’m ecstatic about it” said Berryville Optometry staff member, Kelly Lake. “When I walked downtown this morning and saw all of the beautiful flowers I thought to myself ‘Gee, I’d like to live in a place as pretty as this’ but then I remembered that I do live here!”

“I think that it’s great,” said Main Street Barber Shop owner Norma Green. “This has brought lots of people outside of Berryville in to participate.

“I think that it’s very exciting,” said Berryville resident Janet Crossman who said that she had come downtown to watch because she had never been behind the scene of a video production before. “This really puts Berryville on the map!”

As for the new salad served to hungry samplers, the response was also unanimous;

“Berry, berry good!”

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  1. Where is Bob? says:

    Can someone tell me where Bob’s Sports Store is located in town? I’ve never heard of it before this article…

    CDN Editor: South side of Main Street just across from the pharmacy (at least that’s where it was on Wednesday!)

    • Interested bysitter says:

      It’s a fake storefront, created so that there wouldn’t be a vacant building in the background of their shots. it’s all Hollywood…

      • Stonebroke says:

        We have alot of those downtown! Fake Storefronts!

        • Actually, you have a good point in that case. The building has been vacant for pretty much the last decade, and city council does nothing to remedy the problem (when I recommended they have a fire marshall inspect the building a few years, they claimed there wasn’t one in the county).

          I also crossed paths with a skunk one evening in front of that building, so maybe some other safety concerns there as well.

          Other counties tax the bejesus out of long-vacant commercial buildings, which might not be a bad idea.

  2. Robert Ferrebee says:

    It was a great day for Berryville!! The salad was good, seeing friends having fun was great, and our town is a nice place to live. Thanks to everyone who made the event possible.

  3. Great fun, nice setting and beautiful weather. It was wonderful to see so many happy faces down town. We should close the main street for a 4th of July party/celebration. Again it was a lot of fun to see so many happy familar “Berryville” faces.

  4. citizen says:

    Curious as to where all the new picnic tables came from, and even more where they ended up, were they donated to the town, rented or loaned, or already owned by the town?

    • The production company paid to have them made by a local craftsman and then they were returned to him to resell.

  5. Bobs Sports Store says:

    Today only, 100% every sport item in the store, y’all come!

  6. Stonebroke says:

    I wish we had a Wendy’s up by Food Lion. We could all go up there for lunch today and get a Salad! Booyah!

  7. My 2 Cents says:

    Breaking News! People rushed to the Downtown area yesterday to support a name-branded business in Wendy’s!

    Town of Berryville and County of Clarke, get the hint????

  8. SweetCorn says:

    I think the Berryville Main Street organization should try to host a similar free picnic event downtown, sponsored by the restaurants in town. Not trying to put our local eateries on the spot here, but I think it could fly. For better or worse, I couldn’t help but see the irony in the Wendy’s event downtown.

    • I think a tasting day would be a cool idea for a fundraiser. Get folks to buy a ticket and let them sample the foods the various establishments have to offer.

  9. BlossomButt says:

    What everyone seems to miss is, the most hated establishment by the Berryville Council is the one that attracts the most people to downtown, even if only for a few hours. Hey Berryville, perhaps you should listen up. No chain store is going to deal with your crazy regulations in town, but think of the revenue they would bring out near Food Lion, and all the dollars the town could see!!! But then again…what business already in town might think they would suffer and what rules would we inact to stop that from happening? One of these days, hopefully sooner than later, you are going to be caught with your guard down and someone is going to come in and not violate any regulations, and you will have no choice but to let them in.

  10. Fly Swatter says:

    This event reminded of the television show ‘ V ‘.