Progressive Grocer Independent

OCT 2016

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October 2016 | Defining the Independent Market | 9 year. e Woodlands store is 28,000 square feet, with a selling space of 24,000 square feet. e size of the store needed to be "more human-sized," Akpinar notes. But a lot is packed into a small pack- age. "We said, 'We're not going to be boring; the store needs to be more interactive.'" Harvest Natural Market's concept is more in line with European mar- kets that bring together the butcher, baker, greengrocer, etc., but do it all under one roof to provide a one-stop shop for customers. Each department is staffed with trained and knowledge- able employees and has its own look and design, allowing "people to feel different experiences in each point," Akpinar adds. For example, the bakery evokes France, the seafood department has a Greek look, and the meat department is all Texas. E verything is bigger in Texas, as the saying goes. But Harvest Natural Market has modified the adage to fit its plan to offer a bigger, better customer experience in a manageable footprint. Its plans for the future are big indeed. Harvest Natural Market currently operates two stores, in Katy and e Woodlands, Texas. ree additional stores are on the drawing board, with plans for more. "We're searching new land and new neighborhoods where we can open," says Inci Akpinar, designer and architect for Harvest Natural Market. "Our target is to grow, to open more in Houston, Dal- las and San Antonio." Katy opened in July 2015 and e Woodlands opened in March of this What's most important, however, is that customers can do all of their shopping under one roof. Product Selection "Our concept is to create a one-stop- shopping experience," says Jason Er- gen, VP of operations. "We have a lot of specialty items, a lot of organic, a lot of gluten-free, products for a Paleo diet, all this good stuff, and we also have Oreo cookies." e product mix is 60 percent to 70 percent organic, nat- ural and specialty items, with conventional SKUs occupying the remaining shelf space. e product assortment also features a lot of inter- national items that may "Once you go into our store, it's very unique. It gives you a good vibe. People are friendly. You talk to them, and then you try new things." —Jason Ergen LEADERSHIP Left: Tolga Ugurdag, store manager; Deenita Chapman, founder/owner; Jason Ergen, VP of operations; and Lina Nuñez, manager. THE BISTRO The Woodlands location features a Bistro with a coffee bar and seating. Customers can enjoy coffee or a freshly prepared meal from the food court in comfort.

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