Amid all of the chatter about consolidation in the grocery industry, a few regional grocers are beloved by shoppers for doing all of the things that the larger competitors find difficult; that is, offer a rich and rewarding customer experience. Whether that means installing customizable salad bars (Schnucks), or offering multicultural foodservice stations (Stater Bros.), or investing in retail media and personalization (Northeast Grocery), these operators are kicking off the new year impressively.
Progressive Grocer has identified eight Top Regionals as worthy of the distinction:
1. Northeast Grocery Inc.
Headquarters: Schenectady, N.Y.
Store Count: About 300
CEO: Frank Cursi
Operating Area: New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire
Since its formation through the merger of Tops Markets LLC and Price Chopper/Market 32 in November 2021, Northeast Grocery Inc. (NGI) has been adopting cutting-edge solutions to enhance the shopping experience of customers at its well-known banners. Case in point: A June 2023 partnership with Instacart, which already powered the company’s e-commerce websites and apps, brought both retail media networks and enhanced e-commerce shopping experiences to Tops and Price Chopper/Market 32. Under the partnership, NGI can deliver more personalized recommendations to shoppers, as well as offering custom online coupons. Additionally, Instacart’s Carrot Ads enables brands to advertise directly on Tops’ and Price Chopper/Market 32’s e-commerce platforms and apps.
NGI also established a multiyear agreement in December 2022 with DemandTec by Acoustic, under which an existing relationship with Tops to use DemandTec’s Unified Lifecycle Pricing solution, which includes pricing, promotion and collaboration, was implemented by Price Chopper/Market 32 as well. NGI’s merchandising team and CPG trade partners can use DemandTec’s AI-driven platform to strategize, forecast, plan, optimize and execute pricing and promotion strategies, enabling both Tops and Price Chopper/Market 32 to improve price perception, make smarter promotional decisions and serve their customers with the best products at attractive price points.
Meanwhile, in a bid to boost its presence in New York state’s Capital District, Price Chopper/Market 32 purchased the leases, store equipment and fixtures of five former ShopRite stores in the region this past November, with the aim of rebranding at least two of them as Market 32 locations. At the same time, Tops has been improving its stores with a remodeling program over the past several years, opening in December 2023 its 40th location to be updated with a new look and a renewed focus on fresh departments.