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Isn’t it funny how that which was old becomes new again?
Earlier this week I was several hours into an editorial planning session when I picked up an old issue of IGA Grocergram and began paging through it, hoping for some inspiration. Oddly the issue was from September 2006—this same time 13 years ago—and I was surprised to see that several themes from that Grocergram were mirrored in my current (and I thought very original) editorial plan.
First up was a story on in-store holiday events written by a much younger me, who incidentally even then seemed prone to arguing that Halloween is the most important of all holidays. (Someone please remind me to strike that line from the story you’ll see later this month highlighting how IGA retailers are ringing in the season.)
Then there was the story on disaster preparedness written by longtime industry expert Len Lewis and inspired by the devastating effects of Katrina the year before, much like the one I’m planning in response to Hurricane Dorian.
And finally, there was a column—Admiring Your Support of Schools—from then-IGA Chairman and CEO Dr. Tom Haggai, who gifted his words of wisdom to his adoring audience in each and every issue of IGA Grocergram. His praise directed at IGA retailers for supporting their local schools and giving back in times of need rings so true, it only seemed fitting that we share an excerpt of it here in this back-to-school issue of The IGA Minute.
Some years ago, we tried to measure the support that community causes received from IGA stores. We couldn’t. We found that IGA retailers often don’t keep records even at times when it would be a tax advantage. Whether it’s feeding or clothing the family in need, uniforming the Little League team, buying books for the library, etc., you lead by reaching into your purses or wallets.
No wonder I call our IGA stores community centers. While others call press conferences to embellish their charities, you give. What others aspire to do, you’ve already done, with the local schools as your favorite project.
As is the case with all of Tom’s writing, you can feel his genuine respect toward IGA retailers with every word. In Tom's eyes, dedication to community is IGA, plain and simple, and he remains so proud of IGA retailers for continuing that legacy, generation after generation.
Turns out, he isn't alone in his feelings. Shoppers feel the same.
While it is still true that measuring the overall contributions made by IGA retailers would likely be an insurmountable task, one of the first things John Ross did upon becoming IGA CEO was to conduct consumer research measuring the impact of IGA's key attributes in the minds of shoppers. We learned that IGA beats every other national and regional chain by significant margins in attributes like "trust" and "giving back to the community," and we also learned that those attributes are key reasons people choose to shop their local, independently owned IGA.
So with schools now in session all over the country, please know that your support makes all the difference to your brand, your community, your shoppers, and most of all, the children you help.
Also, know that all of us here at IGA share Tom's thoughts:
The children at the bus stop or in the carpool remind me how grateful I am to be associated with you.
Thanks for all you do,
Editor, IGA publications