Roundy's "What's really going on here? Who's cutting edge?"

rndyvegetables-copyIn the February 17, 2009 edition of the Minneapolis – St Paul Star Tribune entitled “Bob-bobbing along” Matt McKinney reports on Roundy’s and interviews Robert Mariano the chairman, chief executive officer and president of Roundy’s Supermarkets. Several months ago I posted on “Chairman Bob” and the advertising campaign that has been built around him so this interview is an interesting glimpse into Chairman Bob.  Bob and Roundy’s plans to grow private brand from around 4,000 items to just over 6,000, this aggressive growth seems to be indicative of much of the grocery industry.

roundys0201_big According to Chairman Bob, “We’ve been on a very aggressive effort to grow our own brand presence. The company used to be a wholesaler, and now is a retailer, so we’ve been on an aggressive campaign to add things constantly. It kind of plays right into where the customer is.”

By and large the Roundy’s and Roundy’s Select brands exist as traditional grocery private brands competing head to head as national brand equivalents. But as with most retailers trying to find their way with Private Brands and create points of differentiation, Chairman Bob is trying to encourage innovation at Roundy’s. In discussing product development and selection Chairman Bob said,   “It’s very much market-driven, because we’re going to go get products off the shelf and say, “What’s Trader Joe’s doing? What’s Wal-Mart doing?” There’s even a great retailer up in the northeast, Wegman’s, and might ask what are they doing? We’re going to go outside of our market and outside of our stores and say, “What’s really going on here? Who’s cutting edge?”

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.