Progressive Grocer Independent

OCT 2016

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6 | Progressive Grocer Independent | October 2016 Inter dependent, Not Independent Is it time to rethink how we look at ourselves? I recently attended an industry forum and the host, Harold Lloyd, said something that really caught my attention. "Independent operator is a horrible term," he announced. Wait a minute, I thought. Independents are great, and we have to have a word that distinguishes us from national chains. e word works on so many levels with its multiple meanings like thinking for oneself, free of another's authority, not being subject to decisions made on high (like a chain store) and most importantly, owning your own business. But he continued by saying it should be replaced by the term interdependent. Ah ha! He was talking about the other meanings of independent, like not relying on others for help or sup- port and refusing the help of others. Instead, interdepen- dent operators are those who depend on each other. "No 'one' is smarter than all of us," he continued. "Interdependent operators are the best ones." How true this statement is. No one can really go this road truly alone if there is any chance at all of success. e best operators are the ones who turn to associations, share groups and other "independent" retailers for advice, knowledge and ideas or band together to create co-op distribution systems to bring cost of goods down. If we were an industry made up of truly independent retailers, we would cease to operate. No ideas would be shared and stores would begin to stagnate. Because while one person can continue to gener- ate new ideas, many times those ideas are along the same vein and get boring (even if they are new). Customers are continu- ously looking for new, for fresh, for excit- ing, for unique (to them). Instead, the best of us are the ones who have a wide network we can turn to when we are in need of advice. Why reinvent the wheel when, most likely, someone already has a solution to the problem or at least an idea that will lead you to your own solution. Likewise, when a retailer has a great idea, sharing it with others only makes the industry as a whole that much stronger. What is great in one store will prob- ably be great in another, especially with a few tweaks to make them especially relevant for the store. Relying on one another isn't a bad thing, it's actually the key to our success. PGI Get Your Nominations In! The cut off for the Outstanding Independent Awards is quickly approaching. Let Progressive Grocer Independent know who you are. We're taking nominations for the fifth annual Outstanding Independents Awards until Nov. 1, 2016. Are your fresh departments, like produce, meat/seafood, bakery or deli/pre- pared foods, absolutely superb? Is your center store miles ahead of the industry norm? Or do you have particular expertise in technology or sustainability? Let us know how you partner with your community to make it better, or how you "wow" your customers to stand out from the competition. Let us know if you do one or more of these well. From among those stores with excellence in multiple categories, PGI will select the Overall Outstanding Operators — one single store and one multiple-store operator. All winners will be featured in the February 2017 issue and honored during the NGA show the same month. Editor's Note Katie Martin [email protected] No one can really go this road truly alone if there is any chance at all of success.

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