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The CEO’s Perspective

Grocery’s Retail Wonderland

Recently, my wife asked me to go to the grocery store to pick up “a few things.” As a man who prides himself on being able to handle a challenging assignment, I dutifully drove to our town’s newest grocery store, Mariano’s.

Walking inside, I was immediately met with a cacophony of sights, sounds, and smells. There were many shoppers, buying everything from wine to band aids, plus a sushi bar, smoothie bar, salad bar, and wine bar—lots of bars! You get the picture.

Naturally, what always catches my attention is the produce section. Located just inside the main entrance was a veritable garden of different shapes, colors, and tastes, ranging from artichokes to zucchini.

Piled high and deep, beautifully displayed, with information about the various fruits and vegetables, I was able to purchase items I would never have been able to get decades ago. Items from all over the world were laid out before me. It was truly impressive.

As a boy, I remember walking with my mother through our small, hometown grocery store and buying the week’s groceries. There were two aisles in the store, compared with the 70,000-square-foot ‘bar-driven’ state-of-the-art stores we now have.

The evolution of retail shopping is something to behold. You can go online, order your groceries, and either pick them up at the store or have them delivered to your home. You can use a magic wand to scan bar codes at home, making up a shopping list. There are even refrigerators that can track your grocery needs.

Retail has changed dramatically the past few years, and competition is more fierce than ever before. Undoubtedly, choice and competition will continue. Where will it all end? Who knows, but I look forward to my next “retail adventure.” I might even bring my grandchildren along, and take them to the smoothie bar.


C. James Carr is the President & CEO of Blue Book Services.