NGA’s “Five Questions” is a regular feature that explores the insights of independent grocery operators. This week, Gary Redner, COO of Redner’s Markets, shares his thoughts with us.
- What were the most important lessons of 2020?
Self-reliance. There were so many regulatory standards put into place over the last 10 months and our team members were on the front lines. Consistency in those regulations and how they were carried out varied from state to state and even county to county. There needs to be a better plan for handling these situations as a nation in the event there is ever anything like it again.
- What changes do you expect will remain beyond the pandemic?
Face shields and protective gear will continue for at least the balance of 2021 and perhaps beyond.
- What are the most important opportunities for independent operators in the coming year?
Positioning your company to capitalize on prepared meals to go, not only to compete with restaurant business, but because many folks are tired of preparing their own meals. Ensuring you’re offering curbside pickup and/or home delivery, whether that’s handled internally or externally through a third party.
- What are the most significant challenges for independents?
Holding onto the additional business they picked up [during the pandemic] and remaining competitive and relevant as we emerge from this pandemic.
- How can independent operators continue to most effectively serve their customers and communities?
Aside from what’s mentioned above, ensuring you’re making a connection with charitable causes within the communities you serve so that the connection remains real and the guest feels they are supporting community leaders, not just fulfilling the list they put together for this evening’s meal.