Berry Foods Celebrates 1 Year Anniversary

Sep 28, 2022

The small town of Cleveland, Georgia is known for wineries, picturesque mountain views, and supporting local business – that’s how co-owner Dana Berry sees it.

She and her husband Steve have several years of experience as business owners, operating a plumbing and millwright company specializing in the poultry industry, but in 2021 they decided to venture into the world of grocery.

While a grocery business may seem an odd fit for partners in the poultry industry, Dana is also the founder of Kitchen by Dana, a gourmet frozen food product line, which consists of southern comfort food staple dishes. The Berry's were looking for a new location to make the product, and the ample space made the grocery store a perfect venue.

September 1 marked the one-year anniversary of operating their store and living and bringing the Local Equals Fresh lifestyle to customers. The Berry's purchased the store from Greg and Lesley Adams, owners of Adams IGA, which had been in business for many years prior.

Despite the presence of some large corporate chains in town and a new Aldi arriving soon, Dana is comfortable with the community's loyalty towards local business displayed.

“I think our community really supports local, small business. It's been fun!” Dana says. “And I know that sounds crazy. Everybody told us we were crazy to buy a grocery store, especially as busy as we were. It's almost like a break for us.”

On September 17, the local grocer held their one-year anniversary celebration by grilling hot dogs and giving away iced coffee. The latter was made possible with the help of the White County High School Special Education Program, whose students brewed and served the coffee in exchange for the opportunity to engage with shoppers and gain valuable life skills (plus earnings from the tip jar!). 

The community came out and showed overwhelming support. By hosting a raffle prize contest, Berry Foods received hundreds of new email subscribers through registrations, which will be beneficial as the store is transitioning from print advertising to digital and email marketing. 

In front of the store, you will find a smokehouse, where all the hot dogs were grilled. Berry said they are trying to take full advantage of this extension to amplify its prepared foods offerings.

You can also find plenty of local product inside Berry Foods, including local hydroponic lettuce, honey, jams and jellies, and of course, Kitchen by Dana products.

When Dana and her husband took ownership of the store, they wanted to keep IGA in the store name due to its familiarity.

“It’s a recognized brand here in our area,” Dana said. “A lot of times that store was only referred to as IGA, so we wanted to continue that… and we like the branding.”

Of the IGA services, she’s been most appreciative of having their area director Doug Stone readily available as a “world of knowledge.” 

Services like IGA's Monthly Marketing Management (powered by ADvay) have also proven beneficial for the grocer in getting a better understanding of its demographics and putting advertising dollars into more efficient use. In fact, they have seen a 15% increase in sales, 9.6% increase in customer count, and 5% increase in basket size since implementing the program.

Berry Foods V4

“It’s been a ride,” the Berry's say as they reflect on their first year as grocery store owners. “But the relationships we are strengthening through this new venture put a heartwarming perspective on this small town of ours.”

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