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Pundit’s Mailbag — Publix Greenwise ‘Crowds Out’ Specialty Food Opportunities

Our piece, A Walk Through Publix Greenwise Market: Is What Is Sold What Has Been Promised? Lessons For Retailers Thinking Of Launching Specialized Concepts, brought a diversity of responses, some, such as this one, came from specialty food folks who have dealt first-hand with retailers developing specialized concepts:

Just read your piece “A Walk Through Publix Greenwise Market…”

Well written. Great piece.

— Ric Kraszewski
VP Sales / Co Founder
Whale Tails Tortilla Chips
La Jolla, California

Others came from the retail side:

Great points made in this piece.

I would add that having a conventional product on the shelf also “crowds out” the opportunity to introduce new product types (one specialty concept, for example, is now selling Pink Himalayan salt crystals — a great extension on the sea salt craze) as well as improvements to existing product lines (wow — you guys have the low glycemic cake mix with stevia sweetener instead of sugar!).

It also gives the customer the sense that you’re not really serious about bringing these types of unique products within your specialty to their attention — turning an exciting shopping experience (what cool new product will they have this time?) into anything but.

— Sam Shink
Real Estate Director
Safeway (Vons)
Arcadia, California

We appreciate Ric Kraszewski’s kind comments and find Sam Shink’s points most insightful. We focused on the fact that Greenwise, by carrying may of the same products that would be sold in a conventional Publix, was not fulfilling the promise made to consumers by the brand.

Mr. Shink points out that carrying conventional product in a specialized concept virtually precludes a comprehensive effort to be unique and provide exceptional and innovative products to consumers. Every store is limited by its shelf space, and if that shelf space is filled with the same old stuff, there is no room for the exciting and innovative.

A lesson to remember.

Many thanks to Ric Kraszewski and Sam Shink for lending their expertise to our discussion of this issue.

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