The Fresh Market

The Fresh Market recently announced 15 store closures:

There are several reasons for these closures as stated in the article.

A recent Saturday visit to the Cary Fresh Market perhaps indicated reasons for a further decline:

  • out of stock on many items
  • poor product merchandising
  • general atmosphere of not ready for business 

The primary reasons appear to be overexpansion to other parts of the US rather than staying with its Southeast market and efficient distribution. 

Another issue would seem to be ineffective management (and limited working capital). The Fresh Market positions as a high-end retailer….though reviews are average at best. If a busisess is high end…..service and quality also must be high-end.

If Wegmans finally enters the RDU market….that may foretell the future of the local Fresh Markets*.

*Companies must be distinct….otherwise they become extinct.



More Than Expected

Most business meet expectations….however few over-deliver.

Recently we took some friends to a casual restaurant. They we were celebrating a significant anniversary. The manager became aware of this. At the end of the dinner….their meal was complimentary. In this case….the business* over-delivered on a special occasion. 

In our business….we sought to over-deliver….perhaps customers were not immediately aware of this….yet when it came time for another purchase….hopefully it gave us first consideration. In one unique situation….we disassembled a sleeper sofa and reassembled it inside the customer’s home to complete the delivery….more than expected.

  • Note:  the manager of this restaurant was excellent at MBWA on a busy evening.

Advertising 2018


Advertising is quite different in a 2018 world than it was 40 years ago.

Our advertising strategy (different from the marketing strategy*) was:

  • Newspaper – 60% display & classified
  • Radio – 20% 
  • Direct mail – 10%
  • Television – 5%
  • Word of mouth – 5%…. the least measurable

While some home furnishings stores use newspaper inserts….it is not cost-effective for smaller businesses. The primary reason for a different strategy is the:

  • Decline of newspapers 
  • Proliferation of radio and TV/cable channels
  • Internet

A 2018 media lineup might consider:

  • Effective direct mail – Life time customer value
  • Superior Internet presence – Dynamic and current 
  • Word of mouth – Community involvement 

*  Marketing Strategy:  Moderate price….good quality….selective brands….superior service….customer recognition….name identity.


First Impression

When consulting with businesses, one of my first observations was how they dealt with details. 

Though perhaps minor….none-the-less they gave a good indication on how the business presented themselves to their customers. Two observations:

  • Doors and entrance ways
  • Bathroom cleanliness

If these first impression details are not addressed….what other details may also be lacking?


Positive /Negative

In today’s connected world….reviews are a fact of life. Reviews for businesses are fairly subjective….and many businesses would like a 5 star evaluation. Though that’s not going to happen. For some businesses….their goal isn’t to get a 5 Star rating (they just aim for average).

The restaurant review in the recent News and Observer is a good example. The reviewer gave a restaurant 3.5 stars….above average. However, the online reviews were not as promising….some being far less than average. 

Examining another business that I am familiar with….I found this review – “nice selection….overpriced”. Of course overpriced is a subjective term. Price is generally related to value….and knowing this business….it is not overpriced compared to the products and services offered.

Reviews need to be used in caution….though if many are less than positive….one might want to look somewhere else to do business. 

News Roundup

June 2018

+ Where are they now from June 2013

+ Choice is the key word in making markets work. No choice, no market – Seth Godin

+ The inside story of Wawa:

+ Caution + due digence & Theranos:

+ Telsa – Profits?:

+ Another side of S.C. Johnson:–3#/

+ In the big business world, a substantial share of the blame lies on the [weak] shoulders of business schools. The “people stuff” [and leadership, too] is treated as the “soft stuff,” no match for financial wizzardry or marketing gymnastics. – Tom Peters

+ Biggby Coffee – Modular drive thru shops:

+ In-n-Out closed 37 stores in TX (for two days):

+ Alternative to smart phones:


Loyal Customers / Loyal Sellers

Most businesses want loyal customers, though some view loyalty differently (airlines for example). Manufacturing companies certainly want loyal customers….that’s what keeps plants running most efficiently.

However loyalty works both ways….companies also need to be loyal to their customers. If a customer requires something than the provider should respond appropriately.

An example from a recent project. The business in the past responded and provided the appropriate service. I was a loyal customer for many years. Recently the business was contacted and there was no response….not exactly loyal to me, the customer. To complete the task, another provider was selected and a relationship was initiated. The service actually was better than that of the original provider. 

By not being loyal to the customer….the business lost a long term customer….perhaps not significant to the business….but never-the-less….a lesson to be learned.

Loyalty works both ways.