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ABC’s “Good Morning America” had a story over the weekend that highlighted two of the nation’s more unusual food stores, Jungle Jim’s in Ohio, and Stew Leonard’s in Connecticut, noting that these two companies are using showmanship, unique product selections and even a sense of excess to attract customers who otherwise might be shopping at major chain stores.

The two retailers, while they share a taste for over the top marketing that is good for their individual bottom lines, actually have completely different approaches when it comes to product selection (something not belabored in the ABC piece). While Stew Leonard’s always has kept its SKU count to around a thousand, with a focus on fresh foods and private label and only a smattering of national brands, Jungle Jim’s has well over a hundred thousand products made up of brands from all over the world.

One other thing the two companies share – a kind of magnetism that will get shoppers to drive dozens of miles to get there, passing numerous more traditional stores on the way because they’d rather shop at either Stew Leonard’s or Jungle Jim’s.

KC's View:
We hate to pick on our journalistic brethren at ABC, but one of the things we found fascinating about the piece – which we found on the Internet – was that they treated the stores as if they were fairly new phenomena. What’s truly remarkable about both Stew Leonard’s and Jungle Jim’s is that they’ve been engaged in this kind of business approach for decades, which is why they’ve been in such an advantageous position as the competition for shoppers’ food dollars has become more cutthroat.