Rock Local Communities to Gain Edge

Articles
August 03, 2010

Rock Local Communities to Gain Edge

Supermarkets that keep in tune with the culture and sensibilities of the communities they serve should earn more of the close calls shoppers make about where to buy their food.

Supermarkets that keep in tune with the culture and sensibilities of the communities they serve should earn more of the close calls shoppers make about where to buy their food. To do this fully, stores should respect the holidays and traditions of their customers, assort their ethnic favorites year-round, support local events and charities, and find highly visible ways to say ‘we get what you’re about, and we’re here to serve.’

Inside a West Hollywood Trader Joe’s that fills the former site of a Sam Ash music store, the visual celebration of rock, jazz and blues bursts ‘we know where we are, and we know what you like.’ The oversized art works amid the potted plants and private label foods pay homage to the history of the Sunset Strip, where regulars and tourists still flock to the legendary clubs Viper Room, Whisky A Go-Go, The Roxy and House of Blues to see hopefuls and greats perform.

The Trader Joe’s chain is already known for its nice, light touch where the human element is concerned. Yet in this particular store, hand-painted renditions of musical geniuses and collages of old rock posters and albums go beyond what The Lempert Report believes most retailers would do.  Still, this individualized approach seems to us just the right way to groove with shoppers, and perhaps make them happier so they think more about food as fun and less about the household budget.

Not every store needs to be in the midst of music heaven in order to strike the right notes with customers. Whether the venue is a college town, a beach resort, or a less distinct urban, suburban or rural site, there is always local history, color and culture to pattern after. Do the upfront research and legwork – go to the local libraries, chambers of commerce, school boards and historical societies to get a closer feel beyond the usual business data for the customers surrounding your stores.  Frame your store as ‘not business as usual,’ and stand out from the crowd.