Home » IGA Programs Give Geissler’s An Edge In ‘Competitive Environment’

IGA Programs Give Geissler’s An Edge In ‘Competitive Environment’

Bob Rybick and John Ross

by Eric Pereira / content creator

President and CEO Bob Rybick is quick to praise the opportunities that becoming an IGA has unlocked for Geissler’s Supermarkets over the past two decades.

“We really liked the private label brands. But more recently, we found a lot more value in some of the programs that you’ve been able to provide for us, specifically with the national digital ad,” he said.

“And with all the tools, whether it be through ADvay for market data, in terms of how we’re approaching our advertising, how we’re looking at remodeling stores, and how we’re moving forward and communicating all the wonderful things that go into bringing fresh to our customers.”

Rybick’s remarks came during a tour of his company’s store in Somers, Connecticut, part of the Independent Grocers Alliance’s virtual Global Rally on Tuesday. He also shared insight about how COVID-19 has shifted shopper behavior to local community stores and discussed beneficial IGA programs, such as the digital circular and “Local Equals Fresh.”

Geissler’s is a seven-store family-owned chain with locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Rybick, a fourth-generation grocer who was IGA’s 2019 International Retailer of the Year, runs the business with his brother and four cousins.

The company was started in 1923 by his great-grandfather, A.F. Geissler, who delivered groceries to the small village of Broad Brook in Connecticut, according to its website. “Geissler’s daughter, Mary, married Jim Nilsson, who took over and expanded the business into a multi-store independent chain,” the site reads.

Geissler’s has managed to thrive in what Rybick described as a “tremendously competitive environment.” There is a Big Y five miles north, south, east and west of Geissler’s location in Somers. And heading west, Rybick said, there are Stop & Shops, Aldis, Costcos and ShopRites.

“In order to compete there, we really have to find an edge with store brand products, whether it be IGA private label or Geissler’s private label with signature items…our store-made, hand-rolled meatballs or our store-cut roast beef,” he said.

Rybick mentioned Geissler’s tight footprint, with the six stores in Connecticut and one in Massachusetts all within an estimated 70 miles driving distance. Geissler’s has seen results by emphasizing the local connections.

“Where we found a great advantage is taking all those stories of local farmers, local producers of products and really bringing those families closer to our customers, families with our family as the conduit,” Rybick said.

Ross reiterated the commitment to “Local Equals Fresh” as Geissler’s leadership meets with their producers and forms a relationship with them. This includes filming videos in their orchards or the farms where the produce is grown.

The videos appear on all of Geissler’s social media channels, plus its digital app.

“We want to bring the farm to all of our customers,” Rybick said. “So I personally go there – we’re talking with the farmers, with the producers of the products, and getting the whole story behind what they’re growing.”

Ross said they’ve brought those stories to life throughout the stores, and the IGA signage has helped with that as well. Customers can then walk up to the signage that has a QR code to display the digital ads with savings offered and the videos of Geissler’s talking to the producers.

“It’s great when you can get local products and fresh products that are made locally throughout the whole store,” Rybick said. “So there’s a story to tell everywhere you just have to highlight in each department.”

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