Food, and all its adjacent products are always going to be in demand, it’s just a fact of life. So, if you are an entrepreneur thinking about starting a small business, picking something to do with food might be a very good bet.
Things come and things go, it’s a constant in life. For those of us who are old enough to remember record stores, photography shops, travel agencies, and telephone booths, it’s obvious that some things are going to be here today and gone tomorrow. There is one thing that’s a constant though, and that thing is of course, our love of food.
Opening a neighbourhood grocery store
The venue we will look at today is the neighbourhood grocery store, including its own bakery, fresh market, and deli. One recent survey showed that the annual revenue of grocery stores in Australia has enjoyed steady growth over the last ten years, adding up to to over 132 billion Australian dollars in 2022!
It’s true that there is going to be competition from online food delivery services, convenience stores, and big chain supermarkets, but fear not, there is a very secure niche for small, speciality grocery stores selling unique artisanal products grown and produced locally.
Imagine your customers pulling back the clear PVC sheet that protects your produce section from dust and pests to choose from an amazing variety of fresh and delicious heirloom fruits and vegetables that you can’t find down the long, seemingly endless aisles of a major supermarket!
Instead, you will offer an alternative to the status quo, offering the new and exciting selections of fresh produce sourced locally and sustainably.
Your store’s goal is to be different, friendly, and most importantly, cashing in on the growing trend of being a ‘localvore’, consuming only products produced within a certain radius of your location.
Location is critical for the nostalgic grocery store concept. A small town or a quiet suburb on the outskirts of a large city – not too far from farming areas are the kind of places a small independent grocery store can thrive.
Here, you can provide a convenient and eco-friendly shopping venue for the surrounding neighbourhoods, and a retail outlet for the local producers to sell their wares.
The mission is not to compete with the supermarkets and convenience stores or even the online platforms, it is to provide customers with an old-fashioned, hands-on shopping experience with boutique products they will come to love on offer in a quaint, easy-to-navigate space.
Covering the bases
Starting any small business requires careful planning, so let’s take a look at some of the bases that need covering to get started.
The exact location: Once you have chosen the area you want to operate in you will need to narrow it down to your perfect spot. Depending on your resources, you can find an existing building or shop that suits your needs, or you can build something new. It’s crucial to consider the location’s accessibility to public transport, parking, and how much foot traffic goes by.
Creating ambiance: Now we get to have some fun with what we call that ‘old time feeling’. It’s a fact that nostalgia sells, so we want to try for an old-fashioned ambience that harkens back to a century or two before everything was mass produced. It doesn’t matter that we are drawing from the fashions of times long before your customers were born, they will have seen the likes of it in movies and will feel drawn to the charm and mystique of days gone by.
If you can find an older building that has a lot of character, that’s great because you can spruce it up with some new paint and make it part of your brand! If it happens that the only option is a modern building that’s ‘square’ in all senses of the term, you can still create the ambiance you need. Think brightly coloured striped awnings, picture windows full of quaint seasonal displays, and a facade storefront constructed to look as if it had been there since olden times.
What we’re looking for here is to create the same kind of nostalgic feeling that places like a Disney park have created – good old fashioned fun never goes out of style!
Choosing the perfect name: Next up is to choose your grocery store’s name. Think carefully about this, because once you put it on that cheerful painted sign out front it’s here to stay! Do an online search to make sure it’s available. You can also check with the government for licensing info.