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Southold IGA—Making the Community a Better Place!

Author: Charles Reichert
Charles ReichertDecember 13, 2013

A message from...
Charles Reichert
2014 IGA USA Retailer of the Year Finalist
Southold IGA 
Southold, NY 
LDC: Bozzuto's, Inc. 

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, Charles Reichert of Southold IGA shares the retailing philosophy and "best practices" that set his IGA apart from the competition.

Southold is a small community of about 2,500 people, but we are surrounded by all the major chains. We try to keep our community members out of those stores by giving them a personalized shopping experience that they can only get at Southold IGA. When the customers enter our store we greet them by name, we always ask if we can help, and we are extremely knowledgeable about the items we sell. For example, our team in our meat department will talk to customers about their needs, offer custom cuts of meat, tell the customer how to prepare the meat, and remember to ask how it turned out the next time they see that customer. That's taking customer service several steps further, and our customers recognize it.

But as important as customer service is, there's one thing—at least on a personal level—that is even more important. When I started in the grocery business as an 18-year-old I was more concerned about making money than I was about giving it back. Now at 78, my retail philosophy has changed. As the years roll by I have realized that helping to leave this earth better than I found it is the most rewarding way I can spend my time. Hometown community involvement has become my passion, and I am thankful every day to IGA for giving me an outlet for that passion.

We give back through our stores in every way we can. That includes donating to the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and its causes for more than 15 years, sponsoring the building of the Southold Historical Society's new Reichert Family Center exhibition space, protecting Long Island's state parks, and gifting annual college scholarships to four senior high school students, among many other things.

My son, who is 52, will continue the company when I'm not here. We've been IGA since he was in his early 20s and I am very appreciative of the fact that he's spent most of his career in the grocery industry surrounded by this Hometown Proud philosophy of giving back. It has made him a better retailer and prepared him for a successful future. The same can be said of my daughter, who keeps our five stores running smoothly from our central office. It's safe to say the Reichert IGA Family legacy is in good hands, and our community will be a better place for it. That's a really wonderful feeling!

Charles Reichert