There is a personal funny story attached to how I found out about this jar. I had a few phone calls asking if I knew anything about an elephant jar from IGA that started showing up on eBay.
I didn’t know anything, but knew where to find out. I called up the owner of the local IGA stores, someone I had met and served with on a school scholarship committee. He didn’t know anything about it, but referred me to The Fleming Foods Company, a grocery distributor for IGA stores. The next phone call was to a manager at Fleming, who said “I can’t help you, but I know someone who can”. The manager told me that he would have someone work on it and get back to me. At this point I felt I was getting a bit of a run around. This all happened on a Monday morning. On Tuesday afternoon I got a phone call from a salesman at Fleming “I have an elephant jar for you in my car. Where do you live, I am bringing it to you”. Wow.
Now for the rest of the story . . .
About the same time, an acquaintance of mine from several years back apparently started trying to find my phone number. We knew each other through a local group, had chatted a few times but that was about it. I knew she was a Garfield collector and I helped her find a Garfield cookie jar. She knew I collected cookie jars and remembered I liked advertising ones.
I received a strange email on an AOL email account I had asking if I was the Barbara Crews in Bethany. Yes I responded, a week later I received a message to “Please call Pat about a new jar”. Before I could even respond she called me all excited about the new IGA jar, she had one for me too.
But that is still not all the story . . .
It turns out her husband, Jim Mills is the one who conceived and designed the jar for IGA stores. He came up with the idea for a series of jars for the Circus Daze promotions. Mills was in charge of the 900 IGA stores nationwide for Fleming Foods and said there were about 5000 jar issued for the first year.
Since many stores had no idea how the jars would be received by customers, they did not order them. Which makes the first elephant jar a little harder to find than the rest of the series.
Because of the popularity of the first years release, the second year promotion had a second circus elephant jar, but in a different color. The blue blanket is for 1998, the reissued elephant jar for 1999 had a green blanket.
Limited Edition: 5000 (Blue Blanket)
Available only at Fleming/IGA Stores
Issue Price: $19.95