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ARG’s Focus On Creating Personal Relationships Backed By Integrity

ARG relationship

When Alliance Retail Group (ARG) was founded in 2004, it was with the mission to create a business model that stood out, based on personal relationships. From the start, it was important to the founders that strong business metrics were ingrained in the company’s culture.

To some, it might seem old fashioned, but they were going to build the business by doing things the right way. To them, this meant pledging to treat clients with respect and to always be transparent. It also meant always doing what they promised and, if a mistake happened, making things right.

Celebrating the company’s 20th anniversary this year, the Alliance team is continuing to follow these tenets, focusing on creating best-in-class personal relationships backed by strong integrity, believing that everything builds from there.

Not surprisingly, nearly all ARG’s business continues to come from word of mouth. As a company, ARG emphasizes personal touch with its partners.  

“Our employees are dedicated to our retailers and vendor partners and their success,” said Jena Sowers, CEO. “We know if they don’t succeed, we don’t exist. Our business has always been a relationship business, and we feel it is important to truly understand our customers’ needs and help them anyway that we can.”

Guiding principles

ARG’s guiding principles are structured around the three constituents it serves – retailers, vendor partners and teammates.  

  • Retailers: Every decision at ARG is driven by what is in the retailers’ best interest, while protecting all information that is critical to their continued success. ARG strives to exceed their retailers’ expectations by providing the best customer service in the industry, with prompt responsiveness and complete transparency.
  • Vendor partners: By being transparent and easy to do business with, ARG strives to be the first choice of vendor investment. It seeks to drive execution and deliver the best return on investment within the wholesaler environment for vendor partners. It approaches this with the core values of professionalism, high ethical standards and transparency.
  • Teammates: ARG endeavors to treat all constituents, retailers, vendor partners and employees with courtesy and respect while working as a team to drive retailer success. The company strives to protect the brand by being stewards of the business, driving transparency, respect and professionalism. ARG looks to continuously grow, learn, simplify the complex and level the playing field for independent retailers.

“We feel that if we serve and support our constituents true to our guiding principles, we will find success for all three,” Sowers said. “Having core operating values speaks to the culture and employee expectation of how we conduct business daily. We are a nonprofit, whose sole mission is doing everything we can to facilitate our retailers’ and vendor partners’ success. 

“We believe that being transparent with promotional dollars, the data (business analytics) and our simplified fee structure is the key to success and differentiates us in the industry.”

[RELATED: ARG Has Evolved To Offer Suite Of Services]

Having their backs

Believing in the mission independent retailers follow and doing everything in its power to help them succeed are two more reasons ARG is successful. 

“To survive through multiple generations, independent grocers need to possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit. We believe that by working as team we can level the playing field and help our retailers flourish,” Sowers said.

Regardless of where a store is located, ARG offers everyone the same expertise and resources to help them thrive. 

Sowers cited the company’s mission statement: “We believe in the power of the little guys. We believe in great independent retailers winning over the big box banners. We believe in the power of family-owned stores. We believe the local grocery store is the heart of their community. We believe you can succeed, and we can help you get there.”

Go-to-market strategy

The company follows a simple six-point strategy that includes:

  • 100 percent of the vendor trade funds that they negotiate go to Alliance retailers.
  • Help their retailers compete at the highest level by capturing a disproportionate amount of trade funds.
  • Be the CPG’s partner of choice through best-in-class performance and retail execution.
  • Continue to invest in technology to provide best-in-class analytics to drive sales and profitability.
  • Leverage size and scale while continuing to provide flexibility and autonomy to their member retailers. 

As any smart company does, ARG invests in their team to ensure their principles and mission are carried out at the highest level possible with retailers and vendor partners as well.

“Our staff is composed of experienced, dedicated professionals passionate about the independent market. Our relationships with vendors are central to our mission and every single decision we make is influenced by helping our members’ bottom line,” Sowers said.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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