by Jim Dudlicek / NGA Director, Communications and External Affairs
The EVP of Janesville, Wisconsin-based Woodman’s Food Markets shares her thoughts on the current state of the industry and what the future holds for independent grocers.
- The pandemic, a widespread labor shortage, supply chain issues, high fuel prices and conflict in eastern Europe have created a perfect storm that’s driving inflation. What can be done to ease the pain on grocery operators as well as their customers?
We continue to face challenges, but it is important that we focus on what we can do. We’re looking at opportunities to improve efficiencies, prioritizing both our customer and our employees’ experiences, and really keying in on what we as independent grocers do well within our communities.
- What are your expectations for the coming months?
We anticipate seeing supply chain conditions continue to gradually improve over the next year or so, but the challenges of both tough inflation and labor market conditions will remain. With the labor market as it currently is, prioritizing employee engagement and experience is essential to retention.
- Though infection rates continue to fluctuate, the pandemic seems to be over in the minds of many. How will the experience of the pandemic continue to influence your operations?
This is an interesting question, as we are seeing peaks in different locations, both domestically and globally, which continues to have an impact locally. The pandemic will be highly influential on how we review our inventory levels and what we are maintaining in our backrooms. In addition, knowing what the customer expects from their shopping experience with respect to public health and safety and the e-commerce side of the business will remain influential on how we operate.
- What one thing must independent operators do to ensure growth and success?
Independent grocers need to offer multiple options of shopping paths for our customers. The in-store shopping experience remains important; however, having an e-commerce and a connected digital/omnichannel experience is also an important piece.
- What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
Spending time with my three daughters – watching them learn, grow and develop their unique personalities and interests is beyond rewarding, as I get to see where they will have influence and make their own impact. They are involved in many activities, and it keeps us busy. When we have “free” time, we enjoy traveling.