Foodtown of Washington Heights owner Nasri Abed (Photo: Sue Barr)
Nasri Abed, owner of Foodtown of Washington Heights, is a big believer in the Allegiance Retail Services cooperative of which his eight stores are part. “One thing about Allegiance and … Foodtown, they have a program that caters to everybody,” enthuses Abed, a member since 2010. “I’ve been in the supermarket business over 25 years, and the Foodtown circular is one of the best in the street I ever saw, hands down. I don’t see any program better than them.” He’s also a strong proponent of the co-op’s label system, which calls out various product attributes, including organic and natural items.
“When it comes to Foodtown and the Allegiance office, the support team is unbelievable,” Abed notes. “They support you in the grocery. They support you in the dairy. They support you in the frozen. They support you in the meat. In every direction they support you, in pricing. They support you everywhere, anytime you need help, it’s supported by them, which … other companies … don’t do.”
“Being part of the Allegiance Retail Services co-op avails us [of] over 100,000 SKUs and nearly 20,000 natural and organic items … all at great values to the customer,” notes John T. Derderian, president of the Iselin, N.J.-based co-op. “The merchandising and marketing activities handled by the co-op afford us the opportunity to focus solely on store operations. The back-office staff negotiate the best everyday and promotional deals and provide all the marketing collateral and messaging, so we can deliver the best store [experience] to the consumer every day.”
As for what Abed’s plans are regarding future Foodtown stores like the one in Washington Heights, Derderian says: “They have several projects in various stages of the pipeline. They are believers in both [locations in] food deserts and upscale-clientele stores. New York is a melting pot that allows them to fit the store to the need of the neighborhood. This operator has stores servicing both types of consumers, and [has] shown a great ability to successfully merchandise to both.”