Natural Foods Merchandiser
Retailer Roundtable: How do you support local brands?

Retailer Roundtable: How do you support local brands?

Four retailers share how they make "local" a focus in their store.

We give local products preferred merchandising. This includes eye-level shelf locations, displays close to the registers and more in-store priority. Once a month we invite five to eight companies to set up tables outside and throughout the store to sample and promote their products. Having a community of customers, vendors and retailers is key to some brands’ success.

-David Austin, Manager at Westridge Market in Ojai, Calif.

We like to give all local brands the opportunity to “get on stage” and test their products. This gives companies that don’t have a lot of money the ability to do some testing and make adjustments before a larger launch. In our produce section, more than one-third of the stock is local. These products are marked with signage and a red dot to draw attention.

-Dale Kamibayashi, Manager at Alfalfa’s Market in Boulder, Colo.

We keep a list of local vendors and post the number of local products we carry on our website. We also offer information on “miles to market” for each local product. We have a simple vendor application on our website, actively pursue and solicit our customers’ product suggestions, and don’t require a large product commitment from vendors.

-Raquel Dadomo, Brand manager at Wheatsville Food Co-op in Austin, Texas

Support of local brands begins with relationships. Through long-lasting partnerships with our farmers and food producers, we can be equal partners at the table when determining price and supply logistics. Strong relationships allow us to provide information to our customers so they also understand the value of supporting local products.

-Meg Klepack, Outreach and local food manager at City Market in Burlington,Vt.

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