Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://specialtyfoodmagazine.epubxp.com/i/986636

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 70 of 191

q&a In its first five years, Glen's helped launch 79 local small businesses by giving those producers their first chance to sell on the retailer's shelves. Vogel recently spoke with Specialty Food Magazine about Glen's and the role of specialty foods at the store. Describe the role of specialty foods at Glen's. We offer almost entirely specialty foods. In fact, last year we were voted the best specialty food store by the voters of the Washington City Paper. Glen's Garden Market exists to make climate change prog- ress, and we do that by selling good food from close by. And we define "good food" as food that's made by partners who treat the land, the animals, and their ingredients with respect. So when you step into Glen's, you'll find products in every category, but you won't find any brands that you recognize, more than likely. The idea is that we've created a completely differentiated product mix based entirely on a shared value set with the producers that we've worked with. Do your customers appreciate the fact that you carry so many local brands? There's a tension there, naturally, because people conceptually want to support local brands and makers, but they also want their food for cheap, and they want to get it all in one place, so we have had to continuously expand our product mix to add what we call "utility" groceries so that people can do their entire shop with us. We did that because we realized that if we were going to make no exceptions to our own rules, then we were also going to make no progress at all. People would simply go elsewhere for their entire grocery shop. If we made a couple of accommoda- tions to bring in utility items that people were really looking for on a regular basis, then we took control of the entire basket, and therefore maximized our change agency. What are some of the qualities you look for in a specialty food product? There are a number of things we look for. First of all, it has to be either grown or produced within the states of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Secondly, it must be absolutely delicious, and it has to be packaged attractively. Many of the companies we buy from have never sold to a store before—they may be more used to selling in a farmers-market format, so they don't always understand the retail environment. In a farmers market, people are paying a premium to get the top brands from the maker. In a retail store, they are choosing from among the categories based entirely on price point for the most part. As a buyer, how do you approach the Fancy Food Shows? It is extremely difficult to walk the entire show floor as an all-local grocer, because while the state-based pavilions are great, we still have to walk the floor just looking for badges that have locations that meet our sourcing standards. We always try to walk the show floor in one day. How has the online grocery phenomenon impacted Glen's Garden Market? Blue Apron makes it easy to feel like you're a chef, and Amazon Pantry makes it so that you don't have to leave your house for toilet paper ever again. That confluence of convenience and price point are a real threat to brick-and-mortar retail, but what they offer in terms of convenience and price point, they don't make up for in community. At the end of the day, it's a decision shoppers make about what it is they truly value, whether it's getting everything pack- aged and to their door by national purveyors and national brands, or that they're trying to connect with their brands and their food in a space that is designed to promote that engagement. Mark Hamstra is a New York City-based freelance writer. 68 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com "Glen's Garden Market exists to make climate change progress, and we do that by selling good food from close by." "People conceptually want to support local brands and makers, but they also want their food for cheap. We have to continually expand our product mix."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Specialty Food Magazine - Summer 2018