Independent grocers are often advised that to keep ahead of the competition, they need to develop a unique offering that will attract and retain customers. Accordingly, for this iteration of Progressive Grocer’s Outstanding Independents, we’ve decided to focus on the ways that each of the 15 food retailers profiled in below has differentiated itself from the rest, fellow indies and major grocery players alike. These differences range from creating memorable prepared food menus unlike anything else on the market to completely rethinking the concept of “local.”
This isn’t to say that the retailers in question don’t stand apart in ways other than those that PG is recognizing them for, only that we were especially impressed by their creativity in particular spheres. From single-store operators to regional chains, these independent grocers strive every day to inspire and delight their customers, and we at PG were likewise inspired and delighted by their various success stories.
It’s never an easy task to choose from among the submissions we receive, each telling a highly personal story of how each retailer not only managed to survive, but also to thrive, in its given market, often encountering hardships along the way, but still able to triumph and even pay the fruits of its labor forward by helping the less fortunate in its community. Indeed, independents share the kind of tight bond with neighborhood residents that many larger operators envy, since independent store owners come from the same places as their shoppers and understand the needs of those customers better than anyone else.
As the retail industry continues to grapple with a lingering pandemic and its exacerbation of supply chain and staffing issues, the achievements of these indies take on even more meaning. Read on to learn more about how they maintain a standard of excellence that others can only dream of.