Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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40 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | February 2017 W ith four stores in the Baltimore area — two Food Depots in the inner city and two Green Valley Marketplaces in the suburbs — seafood is a big deal, and not surprisingly, the loca- tions have become well known for their crabs. "We're one of the only grocery stores I know that bring in live blue crab," says Rick Rodgers, COO. "ey're local during the season. You can buy them live, or we steam them right there in the store for you. ere's not any other grocery stores that do that." e stores also make jumbo lump crab cakes that are available in several varieties like traditional, or seasoned with Creole or Cajun flavor, or stuffed with pimento or jalapeño cheese. "We're taking things that are very good in Maryland and putting our spin on them," Rodgers adds. e stores also have the Ready, Fresh, Go program in the meat/seafood department. Customers pick their pro- tein — fish, shrimp, chicken — and then select the pasta and/or fresh-cut vegetables they'd like to go with it, and all of the ingredients are placed in microwavable, oven- able, grillable bags that customers take home and cook. "It's unbelievable how good it is," Rodgers notes. "You can pick from a variety of different things. We have them already made, or we actually have in the showcase all the vegetables, the pasta and the pro- teins for people to pick." Rodgers notes that the perishables departments, such as meat and seafood, are what set the stores apart. "If somebody is coming in and buying the center of the plate, which is a protein item, whether it's meat or fish, they're going to buy everything else," he says. "I know there's a lot of people that use our meat, our seafood and our deli because we do a much better job. If they have confidence in the perishable part of your business, then they have confidence in you as a company." S uperlo Foods, with seven stores in Memphis, Tenn., was recently voted one of the best meat markets in the city, and it also has the largest self- service meat department in the area. "It's all self-serve, and it's that way intention- ally," says owner Randy Stepherson. "We're operating as an everyday low-price opera- tor, and we felt like it would help our image as an EDLP operator to not do that service counter." On average, the stores have 28 percent meat distribution, due largely to the high-quality products at good prices. Superlo sells Certi- fied Angus Beef and Seaboard 100% Prairie Fresh Pork. e stores also grind meat on site. Best-selling items range from ground beef and chuck roast to steaks and filets, depending on the location of the store. e products are cut in-store, with the stores' meat cutters boasting a combined 800 years of experience; the larger stores have as many as six cutters on staff to handle the volume demanded. Some of the cutters have been with the company for more than 30 years. "We've held on to our core group for a long time," says Brad Whitaker, meat director. "We've got really good people that work for us, and I think that makes a difference. We can take care of our customers." Meat/Seafood B. Green Co., Baltimore Superlo Foods, Memphis, Tenn.

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