business news in context, analysis with attitude

Nice piece in the Journal News about D'Agostino Supermarkets, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this fall. Nick D'Agostino III makes the point to the paper that while the “company continues to cater to an upscale clientele through its gourmet foods and its services and amenities,” the company “plans to keep the format of a supermarket rather than a gourmet specialty store,” because the latter identity would be too limiting. That said, D’Agostino identifies his chief competition as Food Emporium, Fresh Direct and Whole Foods … and the 18-store chain has to make sure that it identifies points of difference that will keep people coming back.

That means a new website that offers online shopping to compete with Fresh Direct, and having a product selection that can compete effectively with Food Emporium and Whole Foods. But the big difference, according to D’Agostino: "It's the relationship with the customer; I think that's what we have to always go back to. We have quite a few stores where cashiers and customers have relationships, and people come in to say hello to the cashiers and they share stories about their lives. ... Whether it be 75 years ago or now, it's how you relate to the customer and how you serve their needs."
KC's View:
It was just a couple of days ago that we were reporting on a New York Times story about the decline and growing irrelevance of Gristedes in New York. And now, we see that such a decline isn’t inevitable, and that D’Agostino’s has avoided such problems by remaining vital and relevant to its shoppers.

Good to know.