The Save Mart Companies is continuing to invest several resources into its private label sector and increase awareness with customers.
Rebecca Calvin, chief merchandising officer, said The Save Mart Companies has a three-tiered approach. Customers will see Bayview Farms products as the key opening price point brand.
“Then we have national brand equivalents: Sunny Select, Sunnyside Farms, Crav’n flavor. Those are all national brands. So if you think about a Lay’s potato chip, we have a Crav’n flavor that matches the specifications as close to it or better than those national brands,” she said.
The Save Mart Cos. also has a premium tier for which its qualification has to be “unequivocally better” than the national brand, which is Pacific Coast Selections and Full Circle products.
“Both of those brands have organic tiers [and] plant based, if necessary, built into those brands,” Calvin said.
Ben Ueda, VP of Our Brands at The Save Mart Companies, said the organization had 23 private label brands at one point, but is in the process of thinning that to 13. This will create efficiencies and build brand awareness.
“For example, Sunny Select and Pacific Coast Selections are the two brands that we’re really focusing on, that we’re really trying to expand into fresh, because probably for the last 10 years, they’ve been heavily focused on just really dry edible goods and never really expanded beyond that. We’re trying to expand those plus they have high recognition,” Ueda said.
Many of the brands that make up the 13 are what Ueda calls general merchandise and health and beauty aids.
“Those are categories and areas where they’re much harder to go at it alone for a regional company of 200 stores,” he said. “Those are some very low-turning categories where most suppliers that will do a label for you will require a certain quantity run commitment.”
Although The Save Mart Companies strives for innovation in private label, connecting with new vendors and suppliers happens “the old-fashioned way,” according to Ueda. This revolves around networking.
“People call me up, send me emails, I get referrals…we also use traditional ways to meet each other…like private label conventions where the industry comes together,” Ueda said.
Ueda, who has spent many years in merchandising, said private label has re-energized him.
“We’re actually creating product, working with suppliers,” he said. “We’re interfacing with customers, we’re listening to what customers are telling us, we’re listening to what sources are telling us and responding and reacting with product.”
The Save Mart Cos. has a partnership with Super Store Industries, which owns and operates a dairy and beverage manufacturing division in Turlock, California, and a dry grocery and frozen food division in Lathrop, California.
The Turlock facility produces a lot of our byproducts of dairy, such as yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream.
“They’re able to take on outside customers, as well as branded customers, to fill those production lines. We’re in a partnership circle with Raley’s where we can consolidate our volume.”
For more information, visit thesavemartcompanies.com.
To read the full Retailer of the Year section on The Save Mart Companies by The Shelby Report, click here.