Recently, I’ve been diving into the different ways retailers work to expand their business into new areas. I’ve found that stores are purchasing or building their own convenience stores to chase millennials out of their hiding spots, retailers brewing their own beer, even a store with a dog park attached to it. Whether you want those punk millennials to bring Fido to your Qwiki-Mart or not, there’s something special to consider when thinking about your favorite grocery store.
From rural “Who-knows-where”, Idaho to (*Gasp!) New York City, grocers are seeing that their stores and satellite locations are becoming more than just a place to snag dinner ingredients and dog food. Grocery stores provide social meeting spaces and give people a place to express themselves via the food they eat and make. People drive more than ever now, the average daily commute is 25 minutes! People are taking the opportunity to explore stores that offer craft beer and hard to find deli selections, even if it means traveling to a town that looks as though all three of its dwellers are vacationing elsewhere for the year.
All age groups are showing an increased interest in foods that are grown locally and are in some way benefitting the local economy of the towns stores are located in. Harkening back to the days of greaser hair and the Red Scare, people are more interested in knowing the names of the folks they buy from, as well as the image the local grocery store has in its community.
While I’ve been researching these new branches to the grocery store tree, it has been an interesting experience to find new information about what people are interested in. Being willing to travel an hour out of the way to track down your favorite beer, Sparky’s chosen kibble or just to say “Hi” to the cashiers that always welcome you has taken over where the massive chains have failed to deliver.
Insider tip – The next big thing will be a store where dogs do their own shopping. You heard it here first.