Progressive Grocer Independent

DEC 2016

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"We're always trying to connect the story of what's being done in the county to what they're buying. Even if it's a national brand and they are out of Sonoma County, we try very hard to draw those connections for our customers." —Tom Scott, CEO (retired) Oliver's also works to provide customers with the lowest prices possible. Since it was one of the first retailers to adopt the crossover format, its stores are able to benefit from larger- volume discounts, and it can rely on truckloads and house products in its warehouse. Oliver's actually is in the process of building a second warehouse. Unlike its competi- tors, which offer tiered pricing through a loyalty card, Oliver's pricing is the same for everyone and generally comes in lower by about 5 percent than the competition when comparing baskets, notes Scott. "If you come in with a list, we're going to beat them on a day-to- day basis," he says. "But if you're just buying what's on their ad, you're going to do better there." e stores also offer REV (Real, Everyday Value) deals. ese are products placed on spe- cial on a quarterly basis. e ads, which are distributed only in the store and online, feature more than 200 items across all categories, with special pricing that's good for three months. e items on special also feature REV tags on the shelf to help cus- tomers find them. Future Growth What does the future hold for Oli- ver's Markets? Scott recently retired, and his duties are now being split be- tween Gross and Eric Meuse, Stony Point store director. As for more stores, Maass isn't shutting the door on any possibilities, but also doesn't foresee the company's strategy of conservative growth changing any time soon. e biggest change is that Oliver's Markets is entering into an employee stock option plan (ESOP), with 49 percent of the business belonging to employees beginning Dec. 31, 2016. "I think it fits in with our model of being homegrown [and] commu- nity-focused," Scott notes. "We are a very local company," Maass adds. "I think we're mostly known as a community store, and we participate in the community. Other people are talking about local, but we are local." PGI

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