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Market Profile: Fresh Value Focused On Product Selection, ‘Great Customer Service’


Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 06:09 pm

Company has stores throughout state; the ninth opened on Feb. 1

by Mary Margaret Stewart, staff writer

Gerry D’Alessandro officially started working for his family’s grocery business at age 14. At the time, his father and uncle – Jerry and Frank D’Alessandro – owned a single store called Fourth Avenue Supermarket in Bessemer, Alabama.

When he was 24, he bought his dad and uncle out of the business and took it over. After two years, he added a second supermarket. Since then, he’s been acquiring stores from other owners and branding them as Fresh Value.

D’Alessandro described his stores’ go-to-market strategy the same as most independents – positioned on “fresh perishables, a great meat department, fresh produce – just a good grocery selection with great customer service.”

Today, he owns nine stores in the state – two each in Tuscaloosa and Bessemer and one each in Oxford, Pell City, Roebuck and Trussville. No. 9 opened Feb. 1 in Gadsden.

And while D’Alessandro is continuing to grow, the COVID-19 pandemic posed some challenges – though nothing that others in the industry didn’t also experience.

“Obviously, the pandemic-buying really set everything off, and we started to run short on key items, like toilet paper, paper towels, Lysol, Clorox, and then it evolved into other categories,” he said. “Sourcing products was difficult. But with employee challenges, for the most part, we were in pretty good shape – maybe better than some of our counterparts.

“As rough as 2020 was, I would prefer to have 2020 in our industry than any other industry. I hate to even call 2020 a tough year because I know what restaurants were going through, and that’s a real problem. Not having enough product to sell is an easy problem and having too much business is an easy problem compared to what people were facing in other industries.”

And luckily for D’Alessandro along with grocers in the state, the unprecedented nature of the pandemic was lessened with the help of the Alabama Grocers Association.

“The AGA was huge, specifically Ellie Taylor and Jessica Brown. They just do an awesome job for us, legislatively, coordinating communication – all the way around,” he said. “We couldn’t do what we do without them. They’re very good, and I just can’t imagine how grocers do it in other states that don’t have a strong association like Ellie has built here.”

In terms of what’s on the horizon, D’Alessandro is excited to keep growing with the team he has in place.

“We’ve got a great group of people and some very loyal and dedicated teammates that make all this possible,” he said. “Just looking forward to getting back to basics with them and, hopefully, continuing to build and strengthen our brand and add new locations.”

To read about another independent grocer in Alabama, click here for The Shelby Report‘s article. To learn more about what the Alabama Grocers Association has been doing throughout the pandemic, click here for another Shelby exclusive.

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