Published on: January 14, 2016
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Hi, Kevin Coupe here, and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
I was interested to read the other day that Roche Bros.' unique Brothers Marketplace in Medfield, Massachusetts, has won a commendation for best retail store design from the International Council of Shopping Centers. The retailer was cited for “excellence, innovation and creativity” in developing the store, which essentially sits in the middle of the town and has what appears to be an edited grocery selection designed to appeal to local shoppers, with a strong emphasis on fresh.
I've been to the store, and like it a lot. But let me tell you, in a few words, what I liked most about it.
When I walked into the store, not that long ago, I noticed that the company had installed what amounts to an old-fashioned soda fountain against one wall. I was a little surprised by its presence, since many companies probably would devote that kind of space to a program that might feature more products and generate more sales.
But then I noticed something else. Sitting at the counter were three or four girls who clearly went to a local parochial high school - I recognized the plaid skirts from my old Catholic school days. (I didn't wear a plaid shirt, to be clear ... I wore a maroon blazer in elementary school, and then a jacket and tie in high school.) Those girls were all chatting even as they were looking at their smart phones, and they all had milk shakes or ice cream sodas on the counter in front of them.
And at that moment, I realized that the counter was a certain kind of genius - because it was establishing the store as a kind of community center in a way that goes beyond where it is geographically located. Not just for parents, but also for their kids ... and that gives Roche Bros. an important competitive advantage.
If you're going to operate bricks-and-mortar stores, they have to be stores with a difference. Sometimes it'll be a soda fountain, and often it will be something else. But it has to be an advantage with a difference.
That's what Roche Bros. seems to have done ... and in my book, that's reason enough to give the company an award.
That's what on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: