Progressive Grocer Independent

JUN 2016

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Check Out Check Out 42 | Progressive Grocer Independent | June 2016 Thoughts from Center Store Roundtable Company Culture Culture starts at the top. I think that's the key. If you take your eye off the ball at any given time, the culture can slip away from you. You have to walk the talk; you can't have a double set of standards, whether it's dress code or conduct. If you have a set of standards for the group, and then you act differently, you'll destroy the culture of your company. —Alan Alden, VP of operations, Trig's (T.A. Solberg Co.) Consumer Trends People are hyper-sensitive to ingredients today. They read the in- gredients; they know the ingredients. Their tolerance for certain ingredients, whether it's right or wrong, is very low. One of the center store problems is that CPG folks have been too slow to un- derstand the consumers' demand for ingredients they understand and ingredients they perceive to be healthy. Consumers don't want anything [that] they don't know what it is. —Jeff Brown, president/CEO, Brown's Super Stores Differentiation You're seeing a lot more pressure in healthy eating to just shop the perimeter. We have an advantage when it comes to prepared foods, but it's a lot trickier when it comes to center store, because you've got a lot of commonality there. We've integrated the spe- cialty and naturals in the aisle. We saw the numbers go up dramatically when we did that, double-digit percentage increases just like that. You always have to be on the forefront so customers can know when there's something new. —Mike Beal, COO, Ball's Price Chopper and Hen House Markets Customer Experience It all comes back to creating that great customer experience. We're all curating products in the store; somebody else could do the same thing right down the street. Even if it's something we make ourselves, they can have better recipes. It's all about the experience. —Shawn Ravitz, VP, Ravitz Family Markets Merchandising We have to take charge of merchan- dising in center store. We started say- ing no to money from [CPGs], so that we could put out what we wanted to merchandise, what our customer was asking for, to increase margin and get that contribution back. It's complex. It's a tough cultural change, but I think you've got to take charge of center store. It's a cultural shift. We've taken away the big bulky pallet fixtures on the end, which makes it more condu- cive to cross-merchandising. —Paul Adamson, VP of store operations, Harmon City Inc. Engaging Customers How can we get our team members, our associates, to engage with customers? Customers can get information a lot of places, but we're trying to provide more of that information. We're specifically training now to what that conversation is with customers. If customers ask where something is, "Are you new to our store?" is the first question employees ask. If the answer is yes, we train them on certain behaviors; if the answer is no, then the response is, "Thanks for being a Super King shopper." We're trying to guide those conversation and encourage those conversations. —Daniel Barth, general manager, Super King Markets (B&V Enterprises) From left: Daniel Barth; Mark Arrington, Post Consumer Brands; Scott Brown, Brown Super Stores; Mike Beal; Alan Alden; Katie Martin, PGI ; Shawn Ravitz; Paul Adamson; Jeff Brown

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