Jewel-Osco Acts Like Mom-And-Pop

Jul 26, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Large retail chains are not generally known for their nimbleness in addressing differences in local markets, so it may come as a surprise to some that one of the largest grocery store operators is creating a new unit specifically to meet the needs of a particular group of consumers on the North Side of Chicago.

Jewel-Osco, reports the Chicago Tribune, is opening a new Polish-themed grocery store on 5129 W. Belmont Ave. in the city. The store will feature a selection of products typically only found in mom-and-pop stores catering to a particular ethnic group or specialty retailers looking to rake in dollars from foodies with an adventurous streak who are willing to try international dishes.

The new Jewel-Osco unit will have a Polish deli and extended dairy department. The store will carry traditional Polish bakery items and stock its shelves with items manufactured by Polish/American businesses.

Moderator’s Comment: What will it take (or is it even possible) for large retail chains to act more responsively to the needs of local markets and specific
stores? Should they even try to “act smaller” or is their competitive advantage in big areas such as central procuring, standard store formats, etc.?

No one has demonstrated an ability to out cookie-cutter Wal-Mart. Why try?

We didn’t think Jewel-Osco (Albertsons) had it in the company to create a store such as the one on Chicago’s North Side. We hope consumers in the area reward
the grocer for its efforts.

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