In Mike Taylor’s presentation he emphasised the value his company puts in retailers engaging with their local communities.
The Musgrave Budgens Londis managing director said the first co-branded Budgens store, where the owner’s name appears with the Budgens name on the fascia, recently opened in Broadway in the Cotswolds.
Taylor explained his company wanted the community to identify with the local person who owns the store. “We want to put the retailer at the centre, we want to put a personality behind it. That personality and what they do to that store is what makes the difference.” Inside the store the point was emphasised with pictures of the owner and his two managers and a statement explaining their commitment to supplying their customers with the best quality products.
Supplying local produce is also an important way of engaging with customers said Taylor. At Broadway, the owner spent four days meeting with local suppliers to identify products which would augment MBL’s core offer, he added.
He said: “We expect a certain level of loyalty from our retailers, but we also expect them to buy local products. If you are buying 100% from us then you are not local.”
He added: “Our experience of putting in local produce – lemon curd, honey, sausages, English champagne – is that those products will top the charts of sellers in that store. If anyone thinks it is a fig leaf, some sort of sop to allow us to get the core brand to sell over the top, I seriously urge you to think again.”
Taylor encouraged other wholesalers to embrace local produce. He said: “It is not cannibalistic. It does not threaten your core range. In Broadway they sell more Mars bars and Stella because they have a marvellous deli.”
And he added: “We believe it is the localisation of the store, the adjustment of the store, that makes it come alive and gives it its relevance in the community.”
He urged retailers to ensure they are involved in local activities such as charities, sports teams and schools, and said: “Value community involvement because it makes a store much more resilient to any external threat.”