When the COVID-19 pandemic first began to unfold, Mike Violette saw the bi-weekly ROFDA conference calls as an invaluable resource for Associated Grocers of New England, of which he is president and CEO.
“Each of us were able to bring something different to the table – the things that worked and those that didn’t – so we were able to learn a lot from one another. It made us all more efficient,” said Violette, who also serves on ROFDA’s board.
Nearly two years into the pandemic, he sees the topics of these calls shifting away from safety protocols and moving toward supply chain challenges such as inventory levels and driver shortages.
When it comes to the possibility of inviting independent retailers to participate in the ROFDA conference, Violette sees it as a great opportunity to collaborate on a new level.
“The share groups have always been an integral part of ROFDA, so we’re excited to include our retailers within that network, too,” he said. “This will give them insight into what others are doing across the country, as well as provide a support system of sorts as they move forward.”
In discussing the supply chain disruptions among members, Violette views it as a way to better gauge their severity and implications.
“Even though we’re in the same industry and face many of the same obstacles, they can often be to varying degrees,” he said. “It’s helpful to talk these through with each other because then we get to hear real-life anecdotes as opposed to simply assuming what may be going on elsewhere.”
In explaining the value of ROFDA programs, Violette referenced the power of the collective.
“Aggregating our resources and purchasing power makes us considerably stronger as a whole than we would be as individuals,” he said. “Not only does it give us a financial advantage, but the wealth of knowledge and shared experiences that go hand-in-hand with it is truly priceless.
“These programs save money for our retailers, too, whether it be through special promotions or purchase incentives themselves. By working together, it helps all of us grow sales.”
For more information, visit rofda.com.