Grocery Scene Sees Big Changes

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jan. 25, 2010 12:00 am  

The father-and-son team of Steve, left, and Oral Edwards of Edwards Food Giant plan to concentrate on the quality of meats and customer service to earn a niche in the market.

To win customers, Edwards' strategy is to focus on the quality of meats and customer service, which includes carrying the groceries to a customer's vehicle.

Edwards declined to release sales figures, but he said sales had been climbing since the new stores had opened.

Edwards said he didn't want to get into a war with other competitors and would target selling groceries instead of general merchandise. "We just want to get our niche," he said. "And we definitely don't want to get into a battle with Kroger and Wal-Mart."

That strategy might prove successful, said Hertel, the supermarket consultant.

"Price is always important," he said. "But the departments where you establish your quality credentials ... is produce and meat.

"A container of Tide is a container of Tide, no matter where you buy it," Hertel said. "But the meat and the produce will vary from retailer to retailer."

Edwards said that when the store at 2510 Cantrell Road opens in April, the chain would have 250 employees in Little Rock.

He said the company would catch its breath before considering launching other stores.

"There might be some more opportunities that come along," Edwards said. "It's been a pretty good stretch. We basically doubled the size of our company in six months."


Kroger Moves

For years, Kroger had been planning a major investment in Arkansas, said Joe Bell, manager of marketing and consumer affairs for the Kroger Delta division, which covers Arkansas' 36 stores.



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