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By Joel M. Albrizio, President

What Can The NGA Do To Be More Progressive?

The NGA occupies an interesting position in today's retail supermarket landscape. The independent supermarket retailer is at a dangerous intersection with two choices. One path takes the independent closer toward extinction. The other, more likely direction, finds a new breed of independent supermarket owner. This new breed of independent grocery retailer may not only survive but will likely thrive.

This new approach to retail grocery is one where the grocer has accepted a different role with the customer than his elders sought.

The grocery retailer "Back In The Day" had to learn how to both buy and sell. Cooperative advertising dollars classified by many as the "other income column" placed an artificial safety net beneath many of the grocery retailers spends.

Over time, beginning with P&G, the CPG community reduced these advertising, or street monies, or in some cases eliminated them entirely.

I remember years ago when "buying hours" were still popular. Listening to brokers discuss whether their street monies this week would help the retailer purchase a boat or a Harley.

"Clearly Something Was Wrong With The Cooperative Advertising System In Place To Induce The Advertising Spend"

So now, today's independent grocery retailer must recognize selling is the new path to success. The education of how to sell, and through what items and services, can be supported through educational programs.  Some of these programs are available through the NGA.

Conference offerings nationally through the NGA bring grocery retailers together. In addition to the NGA meetings, shows & offerings, the retailer can collaborate with executives in the same environment. This retailer collaboration helps the grocery retailer develop the confidence necessary to succeed.

Independents have always recognized service as the shortfall of the big box retailer. Never has this been more important to the grocery retailer than today.

"Big Box Retailers Lack Customer Service"

The super retailers like Walmart & Costco are cutting out their price match policies. Oh, and try to find someone to ask even the simplest of questions. So here we are in the retail superpower- but try to find what you might need on your own. 

Have the big box retailers already seen their best days? Perhaps. Keep in mind the world is asking for more convenient retail "right sized" locations. This is contrary to the  platform the "Big Box Retailer" has come to rely on. Remember that big box is loaded with vendor funded items. The very vendor funded monies the independent no longer sees. 

So What Does All Of This Mean For The NGA?

Education, Organization, Programs, Preferred Vendors, Conventions and Forums Designed To Encourage Independant Retailers!

With the NGA, the independent retailer has an organization that understands what this new generation of grocer faces. Is it possible we could now see a new generation of NGA?

Could The NGA Offer The Retailer More?

Of course, but based on a balanced array of offerings the NGA, at the very least, gives the independent grocer a fighting chance. If nothing else, the NGA helps us all believe the independent grocer will not cease to exist. If as retailers we believe we can....we will.

"The NGA Believes We Can & So We Will"