Shopping ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name’
By George Anderson
Ruben Cavazos would make Sam Malone proud. The fictional bar owner on the old Cheers television program ran a business where patrons liked to go because “everybody knows your name.”
Mr. Cavazos isn’t making quite the same claim but he said, if you were a Ruben’s Grocery customer, you would shop in his store instead of going to Wal-Mart, HEB or other bigger competitors because “you want to go where somebody knows your name.”
As he told The Monitor, customers take comfort in knowing: “If you’ve got a complaint, you’re going to talk to the boss.”
Ruben’s owner and his primarily Mexican and Mexican-American customers know that, in some areas, the big boxes have an advantage over his store. If they’re looking for toilet paper, they’re certainly going to get a better deal at one of the chains. If they want exotic fruits and vegetables used in Mexican dishes or Coke and Pepsi imported from Mexico, then Ruben’s is the place to go.
Moderator’s Comment: Has it become easier for independent grocers to compete with chains? What lessons are there to be learned from the Ruben’s Grocery
George Anderson – Moderator