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Independent Supermarket Operator Testifies Before Congress On Regulations

Castro testifying on government regulations.
Carlos Castro, president of Woodbridge, Virginia-based Todos Supermarket.

Carlos Castro, president of Woodbridge, Virginia-based Todos Supermarket, this week testified before the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access in a hearing titled “Examining the Small Business Labor Market.” Castro testified on behalf of the National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, on the “overwhelming number of regulations preventing small businesses from growing.”

In the hearing, Castro emphasized how an increasing number of regulations forces the supermarket to reallocate resources previously used for store improvements, additional staff and expanded offerings. The average independent grocer spends between $40,000-50,000 annually on regulatory compliance, according an NGA member survey, while operating on a one to two percent profit margin.

“Costly regulations often take up too much of our time and resources, and pose as a serious barrier to hiring new talent,” Castro said in his written testimony. “At Todos, we often say ‘if you have a good attitude and work hard, there is no limit to how high you can rise.’ With business, it should be the same,” said Castro. “I would ask our elected representatives to continue looking for opportunities to unshackle businesses from their heavy regulatory burden, and let businesses like mine see how high we can go.”

“Locally owned independent supermarkets should be focusing on the customers they serve and growing their business, not worrying about the next regulation coming from Washington,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA. “With grocers operating in such a fiercely competitive marketplace, it’s crucial that Congress help—not handcuff—small businesses like Todos Supermarket.”

Todos Supermarket was founded in 1990 to fulfill the needs of Woodbridge’s growing Hispanic community.

The National Grocers Association (NGA) is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. The independent grocery sector is accountable for close to one percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating $131 billion in sales, 944,000 jobs, $30 billion in wages and $27 billion in taxes.

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Alissa Marchat

A word nerd and a grocery geek. She is a proud new homeowner and a great lover of avocado toast.

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