AP NEWS

Independent Grocer Changes Private Label In A Bid To Stay Competitive

April 6, 2019

In a crowded grocery market, Riccardo’s Market in Dunmore needed a change to stay competitive. So owner Rocco Riccardo left the ShurSave supermarket group he’d been a part of since 1993, switched private label-branded goods and began marketing his goods in line with his immediate competitors. The biggest difference his customers will notice: instead of the Best Yet private label products he carried through his ShurSave affiliation, he now sells IGA branded products. The move gives him more flexibility to set his prices, compete with other grocers nearby and offer customers a broad menu of new products, he said. “We added 2,000 new items,” he said. The ShurSave group includes a couple of prolific supermarkets in populous areas, for example, Schiel’s Family Markets in Wilkes-Barre and Gerrity’s Supermarkets throughout Luzerne and Lackawanna counties, but many of them are in outlying areas where competition isn’t so fierce. Those markets have more freedom to set prices at what the market will bear. Riccardo’s is not far from Price Chopper Supermarkets, Walmart and Giant Food Stores, all significantly larger chain grocery stores that frequently beat him on price. Leaving the group helped fix that, he said. “My sale items are much hotter, more competitive,” he said. “I have a fresh new look.” His wholesaler, based in Connecticut, serves major markets in places like New England and New York. “I’m getting top-quality stuff that we were never able to get here,” he said. “It seems to be a good match for me.” Contact the writer: joconnell@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9131; @jon_oc