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The recent ROFDA (Retailer-Owned Food Distributors & Associates) conference in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, explored the “why” behind retailers and consumers' food purchasing decisions.
Ray Sprinkle, president/CEO of Spokane, Wash.-based URM Stores Inc., challenged the attendees – distributors and suppliers – with the question of whether independents matter, and what value and opportunities they bring. He went on to stress that value and opportunity have little to do with size and everything to do with heart. Independents are often a big part of their community, to which customers respond well. Retailers that deal honestly with customers create loyal and dedicated customers who may not choose according to price alone.
Independents often hang their hats on being the best in meat or produce or service, etc. However, “the best” is subjective, says Paul Matejovsky, president of Trading Company Stores, with four locations in the Spokane area. He decided to focus on fun to set his stores apart, such as putting funny quotes on the walls. Additionally, after doing a customer survey that found 49 percent of Trading Company shoppers were male, Matejovsky worked with an ad agency to develop of series of “Man Shopping Challenge” commercials, which won NGA’s Creative Choice Awards.
Motivational speaker Craig Zablocki encouraged attendees not to take themselves so seriously and to become more childlike. Children have self-confidence and energy, and they find joy in almost everything without getting embarrassed, something we lose as adults. Therefore, stop worrying, get used to being embarrassed, go all in and quit trying to be right all the time, as this will help create a culture where people are in the moment, which is when the fun happens, Zablocki said.