Independent family-owned grocery stores used to be a staple in towns across America.
While their numbers may be dwindling, large supermarket chains haven’t entirely pushed these compact stores out.
In many communities, independent grocery stores are surviving in the down economy because neighborhoods are supporting them.
Longtime family-owned market owners say the keys to success are providing personal attention and creating an atmosphere where customers are treated like family, according to an article in the Berkshire Eagle.
“We can’t always meet price, so it’s service and convenience,” said Lesley Albert, who has owned Loeb’s Foodtown in Lenox, Mass., with her husband, Earl, for 44 years.
Store owners getting to know their customers on a more personal level also has financial benefits. It allows them to carry just enough to fill most customers’ needs instead of stocking a wide variety of products.
“We carved out a niche,” said Earl Albert. “Trying to produce a quality product and customer service, that’s the key.”
Many customers also are drawn to independent markets for the convenient parking and quicker checkouts. Many people like small stores that allow them to pick up what they need and leave in a matter of minutes.
And many community members don’t just shop at independent grocery stores — they once worked in the aisles and at the cash registers.
“I loved it, you saw everybody, because everybody comes in at one point or another,” Lenox resident and former Loeb’s employee Linda Procopio Messana said. “You can find whatever you want. It’s comfortable there, like home.”
Source: Berkshire Eagle, February 2012