A beautiful display of fresh, colorful produce is a great way to attract customers to your store. Stocking this produce at reasonable prices is often a challenge for small grocers, but it’s possible for even the tiniest grocery stores to maintain a solid selection of fruits and vegetables with the right planning. Read on to learn four strategies your store can implement to keep a variety of quality produce on the shelves.
Use Refrigerated Transport
A big challenge for small grocers is getting fresh produce from the farm to the store, especially for items that aren’t in season locally. A refrigerated transport truck can keep produce at the peak of freshness longer as it makes its way across the country to your store. Refrigeration slows the ripening and spoiling process so your produce arrives in beautiful condition and remains that way long enough to make it into your customers’ hands.
Coordinate With Farmers
Working with both local and out-of-state farmers to schedule your store’s produce selection is a great way to ensure that you always have a good variety without overstocking. Ask your suppliers for a spreadsheet detailing which crops will be ready for delivery each week and plan your stock accordingly. Try to arrange for a steady supply of staple fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, bananas, onions, apples and celery.
Offer Specials on Seasonal Items
Waste is often a discouraging factor for small grocers looking to stock produce, but the right strategies can reduce waste and make your produce department more profitable. One waste-reducing strategy is to promote in-season items with special sales. Local, seasonal produce has a higher profit margin due to its lower wholesale cost and is usually fresher than its imported, out-of-season counterparts.
Purchase in Small Quantities
Another effective way to combat waste is to purchase your produce stock in small quantities. Although smaller orders usually result in higher per-unit costs, you may come out ahead by reducing waste. Consider working with other small grocery stores and convenience stores in your area to combine produce orders so you can reap the savings of bulk purchases without the risk of buying too much.
Remember, a fully stocked produce section is not only a great benefit to your bottom line but also to the surrounding community. The ability to buy fresh, quality fruits and vegetables from your small grocery store leads to improvements in the health of local families who otherwise may not be able to access them.