Company Blog

You Gotta Get Creative

by Adam Zack — March 18, 2020

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

I’ve never liked the phrase “Think outside the box”. It’s such a cliche. For business leaders and innovators there is no box. There is no border. The limits are only what physically and realistically is impossible. There are lots and lots of “no box” independent retailers. They rock. There are also lots and lots of conventional grocers who operate within the box. Their stores literally are a box with long aisles and hard borders. During this unprecedented COVID-19 coronavirus times, the no-box guys are finding ways to keep products on the shelves and the box guys are bemoaning the shortages on their orders from their wholesalers. Last week, one very sharp operator in Northern California told me he met with his team and planned for what was coming. He told them to not just have a plan B, but to have a plan C and D. What can you substitute for the products that are in short supply or out of stock?

A huge resource is the companies that supply restaurants – Sysco, US Foods, Shamrock – and many others. They carry many retail adaptable products – pasta, toilet tissue, paper towels, juices. And eggs. Yeah, they sell them in cases of flats with 36 eggs on each flat – but you can sell the whole flat, or cut them in half and sell 18 count. Paper towels and toilet paper don’t have a UPC? Hand mark them or just put up a sign and let the cashiers know. Tortillas come in bulk packs only? Repack them into dozens and put them on the shelf. Think outside the box. Share success ideas with fellow retailers. Work with local restaurants. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

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