C.E. Lovejoy's Brookswood Market IGA—A Winning Combination of Tradition and Progress!
December 12, 2013
A message from...
2014 IGA USA Retailer of the Year Finalist
C.E. Lovejoy's Brookswood Market IGA
LDC: Unified Grocers
Look to The Independent View in the coming days to learn more about the Finalists in the running to become one of three 2014 IGA USA International Retailers of the Year. Today, Scott Lovejoy of C.E. Lovejoy's Brookswood Market IGA shares the retailing philosophy and "best practices" that set his IGA apart from the competition.
My ancestors have been in the grocery business since 1864. It's something we're really proud of, and we work hard to combine their traditional values of personalized customer service with the progressive ideas that we need to stay ahead of the competition. In my mind, it's IGA that helps keep us progressive.
For example, we've put together a great team of people who work together well and have a strong understanding of what it means to be the friendly neighborhood grocery. But that alone isn't enough, and that's where the IGA Coca-Cola Institute comes in. We have store-level mentoring and on-the-job training, but our core training program comes from the Institute's online training and annual classes. In fact my manager and I went to the Supermarket Management Class in Atlanta this year and came away with a much better understanding of our training goals, as well as ways to enhance our employee training in our store.
Another example of how IGA keeps us progressive and contemporary is through IGA's Exclusive Brand products. Even though those IGA Brand products have been around since the beginning of IGA itself, they just keep getting better—as do the programs that support them.
Our IGA has a varied customer base. On one end we have the significant value shopper, and on the other we have the high-end specialty wine and cheese shopper. Since we view our IGA Exclusive Brand line as one of our biggest assets, we think it's our responsibility to market it to both demographics. You have to make them recognize that this is a consistently high-quality product. That's a message that is important to all shoppers—not just those who are on a set income.
The key is merchandising the products in a creative way that appeals to our entire customer base. For example, we will create a really innovative display that has cookware, potholders and cooking utensils, then incorporate things like IGA tinfoil and baking products. Shoppers love it because suddenly they can see these products in their homes. IGA Brand events like IGA Days and Wounded Warrior have also helped create excitement. After a few years of those events, we now have an entire customer base of loyal IGA Brand shoppers who had never bought a private brand product before.
When it comes down to it, I guess the gist of it is pretty simple: Combine tradition with progress, and you win every time!