Best Practices Finalists

Cast Your Vote for Your Favorite Sales-Building Best Practice!

IGA has handpicked 10 IGA Best Practices for their creativity, ability to save money and/or increase sales, and adaptability by fellow retailers. Now it’s up to you and the rest of the industry to vote for the best!  Vote as many times as you want. When all the votes are in, the top three will be announced at the Presentation of Retailer Awards at the IGA Global Rally (rescheduled date to be determined) and each will take home a $1,000 cash prize for the store. 

Want to know more about these best practice finalists? Join us at the IGA Global Rally for live presentations from each of our finalists.

Local Produce Sourcing Results in Fresher Product and 40% Gross Profits

Lake Country IGA—Kevin Kothlow

Surrounded by lakes, vineyards, and local farms, Lake Country IGA shares the regional bounty with customers by working directly with the farmers instead of purchasing through the co-ops, therefore keeping prices low while still grossing 40 percent profit.

Providing local produce has become so popular, they even renovated and expanded the produce department, adding garage doors that allow them to merchandise outside during warm months. Since the expansion, they've paid off the cost of the renovation and more than doubled their produce sales. In total, produce has grown from 11 percent of total store sales to 18 percent.

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Ditch Money Losers and Free Shelf Space for Profitable Lines

Northampton IGA Plus Liquor—John, Maree, Richard, and Kerry Hasleby

By paying attention to the deleted lines report, the store notes what is moving slowly and marks it down to just above cost so they can clear through stock quickly and free up valuable space for items that will move more quickly and at a higher profit margin. Now customers have new offerings and the store doesn't lose money on products that aren't selling.

App Drives Employee Connection and Satisfaction

Adams Hometown Market—Cassidy Spencer

With 15 store locations across four states, communication is critical to the Adams Hometown Market brand, but also difficult to maintain using traditional methods. They started using the texting app GroupMe as a form of internal communication and found that not only does it boost team morale, it also has increased overall employee satisfaction—especially among their millennial employees. As an added benefit, the group conversations often spark creative ideas and competitions that make for great social media posts to engage their shoppers. 

Store-made Facebook Videos Generate Awareness, Sales, and Fans

Sprankle's Neighborhood Market—Ryan Sprankle       

By using Facebook to connect with shoppers and advertise store offerings, Sprankle's social media posts reach over 80,000 people per week and receive over 23,000 reactions per week—that’s more than twice the reach of their print ad at just 1/10th of the cost!

Their overall store sales have seen great results, with the freshly remodeled store up 16 percent in sales and the other location up four percent. 

Welcome Bags Drive 5% Coupon Redemption

Geissler's Supermarket—Nilsson Family      

To lock in new residents as loyal Geissler's shoppers, the store has partnered with a new-mover marketing company and developers to provide welcome bags to people moving into new apartments. They fill branded, reusable bags with locally sourced products and coupons that can only be redeemed at Geissler's, and the building managers put them in the apartments on move-in day. 

Since launching this initiative, they have seen a consistent 5 percent redemption rate in the coupons, which signals the program is working to bring in new shoppers. With their average shopper spending $25-$30 per shop at least twice a week, it's a winning investment in acquiring new shoppers.

Day-old Bread Becomes Value-added Product

Nemenz IGA—Judy Gabriele

The Nemenz IGA bakery makes a good deal of breads from scratch, but the most popular is the $.99 Italian bread made fresh daily and sold in 1 lb loaves, with the store making an average of 600 loaves each day.

To reduce food waste and increase profits, they take any day-old breads and grind them into bread crumbs to use in the hot foods department, donate some to a local church, and turn it into bread cubes for holiday stuffing at Thanksgiving, selling more than 300 bags during the holiday. Selling for $3.49 a bag and only costing 26 cents for materials and labor per loaf, that's $3.15 of pure profit per bag of bread (and $945 total profits over Thanksgiving).

2-Day Motherlode Meat Sale Boosts Sales 362%

Super Bear & Foodland IGA—Mark Graham & Tyler Myers

Twice a year in fall and spring, the Super Bear and Foodland IGAs run two-day “Motherlode Meat Sales," featuring deals on beef, pork, poultry, and seafood. They provide pre-cut value packs and also demonstrate custom cuts on the sales floor, which emphasizes the freshness of the meat and the skill of their butchers, engages shoppers, and makes the store stand out from other stores that only carry pre-packaged meats.

These events are hugely successful, with meat department sales up 362 percent during the two days, storewide sales up 54 percent the week of the sale, and a 19 percent customer count increase.

Vision Statement Gives Store a Mission and Inspires Staff

Red Bud IGA & Millstadt IGA—Craig Norrenberns           

Three years ago, instead of creating another promotion or using another marketing tool to leverage sales, the Red Bud and Millstadt IGA teams took time to figure out exactly who they are and what they value. The result is a new vision statement that defines their core principles: joyful, prayerful, grateful. 

Everything they do as a company is run past this general vision, from employee and customer interactions to store promotions and charitable giving. The results have transformed the store culture at each location, resulting in modest sales gains (1-1.5 percent) even as the local dollar stores have added new offerings of produce and dairy and frozen food. With our team more invested than ever, one of our greatest accomplishments in 2019 was to become a debt-free company. Our team has worked hard to attain this benchmark by keeping our gross profit margins in great shape.

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Collaboration with Farmers Offers Value, Quality Control for IGA China

Guizhou Heli Supermarket Corp.

The Guizhou Heli Supermarket Corp. collaborates with growers to provide a greater value to shoppers at a 20-30 percent savings compared to the farmer's markets. Through this initiative, Heli has unified standards in produce consolidation and can provide food from farm to fork in under five hours. 

 Through collaboration, Heli helps local government more effectively identify the potential entrepreneurs among growers for state loans, which helps fight poverty and creates value for all stakeholders. Heli also helps the multitude of growers organize and consolidate themselves for scale benefits by providing sales channels, market information, branding resources, and expertise on standard operations. 

Quality Social Media Keeps Shoppers Coming In

Spires Market—Sharlene Spires

A few years ago, Sharlene Spires started prioritizing the store’s use of social media to help her family's independent grocery store succeed. She elected for a home-grown approach to social media, and started sharing what shoppers wanted to see: daily deals, family recipes using food found in the store, and funny videos. 

Their Facebook page has grown to over 4,100 followers, with each organic post receiving between 40 and 80 reactions. When Spires stopped posting their daily deals for a brief time to see if anyone was paying attention, store sales declined and shoppers flooded their messages asking for the daily deals. Now, Spires posts regularly and employs social media and photography best practices to ensure the posts have a clean, professional appearance.