Monday, September 5, 2011

Competition is a Good Thing!

                                                 Whole Foods Store in Silicon Valley, CA

In the Wilmington area, we are so lucky to have several grocery stores to choose from when doing our shopping. Most people can easily access Food Lion, Lowes Foods, and Harris Teeter. There is also Piggly Wiggly, which I have heard has great prices on meat.

In addition, there are a variety of drug stores to choose from, including Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens. There is also the regional chain, Kerr Drugs, in the area.

The reason I mention this is because each of those stores run sales ads, trying to compete for our business, hoping to out-do one another on the low prices. We even benefit from the fact that stores like Bi-Lo and Kroger are in other parts of the state such as Raleigh. Although they are not here, the grocery ads tend to be the same across the state. So Harris Teeter, for example, might try to run great specials to compete against all the other grocery stores in the state, including ones that we don't have here locally in Wilmington. The consumer always benefits from competing chains!

                                             Fresh Market Store in St. Petersburg, Florida

One recent example that I have seen of competitive pricing is in the specialty store category. Many of you are familiar with the Fresh Market fresh foods grocery store near Mayfaire. I always considered that store to be upscale and expensive. They offer amazingly fresh produce and meats, along with many other prepacked foods and gourmet cooking items. I compare it to Whole Foods grocery store, which specializes in high quality and organic foods. (Some people jokingly refer to Whole Foods as "Whole Paycheck.") They are not exactly the same, but I do think they attract a similar kind of customer.

Recently I learned that Wilmington, NC will be getting a Whole Foods grocery store next year. It will be located near Independence Mall on Oleander where a Lowes Foods store formerly was. I personally am not into organic foods but I know that many people are, so this will open up a whole new ballgame when it comes to competing in those customers. In fact, just recently the Fresh Market has started doing $2.99 Tuesday sales, offering great prices on certain items Tuesdays only. Is this in response to the new Whole Foods that we are getting? I can't say, but I do expect there to be some great pricing on organic items from local grocers such as Tidal Creek and Loveys, as well as better pricing from some of the big chains here, all in response to the Whole Foods that is coming.

                                            Whole Foods store in Silver Springs, Maryland

The Whole Foods grocery store is set to open spring of 2012. For now, check out the $2.99 Tuesdays at the Fresh Market. Highlights include $2.99 ground chuck, $2.99 fresh chicken breast, and $2.99 for a whole pineapple. Great prices!

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