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Cover This

by Adam Zack — December 11, 2018

The best retailers write their own music

Every summer near where I work in San Diego there is a Summer Concert Series that features cover bands. About 3,000 local residents attend and families old and young have a great time during the summer nights, eating picnic dinners, smuggling in wine and beer and dancing to the sounds of Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash and other popular musicians. It’s a fun party and a real example of what American neighborhood camaraderie is like. And the cover bands are good, recreating faithful versions of some of your favorite tunes. The masses dance and you can get right up to the stage and if you’ve had enough wine and close your eyes (really tight, no peeking) you might imagine that you are front row for Elton John or The Beatles. The bands make a living and everyone has fun. But does any musician grow up with the goal of being the best Led Zeppelin cover band? Is being in a great cover band ever a goal, or is it just the result of a musical career that never amounted to a paying gig?

For the cover band, imitation is not just a form of flattery, it’s a way to meet the demand for a supply that may be extinct. You’d never get to see the actual Doors, or Tom Petty again. As grocers we are constantly on the lookout for ideas we’d like to “cover”. We see a deli item or a promotion and maybe add our own riff and play it to our customers. We are a group that shares and researches. We look at our peers and competition constantly. But the best retailers in the country are not cover artists. They pick and choose notes and beats from lots of other sources, but they are making original music. Ideas that are much more likely to be copied and covered. The best retailers write their own music and change the set-list regularly. They sell out shows and their goal is to be the BEST BAND, not the BEST COVER BAND. Want to know who the rock stars of the grocery world are? Look at the ones you will travel far to see. The ones who win awards and influence trends. I’d make a list, but you know who the rock stars are already.

*Thanks to my wife Linda for the idea and inspiration for this week’s blog.

Read More – Fearsville

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