Carlos Castro, owner of Woodbridge, Va.-based independent food retailerTodos Supermarket, was among the retailers invited to the White House for a Nov. 29 roundtable discussion with President Joe Biden on America’s supply chain problems. Castro, a member of the National Grocers Association (NGA) board of directors, represented the more than 21,000 independent community grocers across the United States.
During the discussion, Castro noted the resilience and flexibility of independent grocers, as well as the competitive pressures they face while procuring high-demand products in short supply.
“I was honored to represent Todos and America’s independent community grocers during today’s White House roundtable discussion on supply chain challenges,” said Castro, who immigrated to the United States from El Salvador. “Although independents are resilient and our customers can rely on us during the holidays, independent grocers unfortunately continue to face competitive disadvantages when sourcing products in short supply. We appreciate the president’s leadership in helping to address the major issues facing retailers and consumers.”
“Independent supermarkets such as Todos Supermarket serve as the cornerstone of their communities in both the products and services they provide, as well as the jobs and local economic benefits they create,” observed Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NGA, which represents the independent supermarket industry and its wholesalers. “The pandemic and sustained supply chain challenges have underscored the important role independent grocers play in America’s communities and the innovative ways in which they navigate difficult times to better serve their customers.”
Four-store Todos Supermarket was founded in 1990 to meet the needs of the area's growing Hispanic community.
NGA has expressed its support for a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) probe of the grocery industry, in which it’s ordering nine large retailers, wholesalers and suppliers of consumer goods to provide “detailed information to help the FTC shed light on the causes behind ongoing supply chain disruptions and how these disruptions are causing serious and ongoing hardships for consumers and harming competition in the U.S. economy.” The orders have been sent to Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Associated Wholesale Grocers, McLane Co., Procter & Gamble, Tyson Foods and Kraft Heinz. The companies will have 45 days from the date they received the order to respond.
Last month, Ferrara testified before the full House Agriculture Committee on how supply chain challenges, including the labor shortage and anticompetitive tactics by power buyers in the grocery marketplace, have affected indies and their communities.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores under 48 banners in 24 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam’s Club ranks No. 9 on the list. Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 3, Keene, N.H.-based C&S is No. 16, and Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers is No. 36 on The PG 100.