retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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Hi, Kevin Coupe here and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

I am, to be honest, a creature of habit, at least when I'm home and not gallivanting around the country. I've been jogging the same 4-6 mile route for the 32 years that I've been living here, I take pride that I have a watch that I've been wearing since 1980, and for most of the years that I've lived here, I've done most of my food shopping in the same stores.

There have been some variations, to be sure. Amazon had an impact on where I bought non-perishables and non-edible groceries. But when it comes to meat and seafood and produce and bakery and edible grocery ... well, I've rarely deviated from a well-worn path, spending $150-$200 a week in the same stores for all these years.

Until recently.

You see, my town got something new. A small, independently owned butcher shop. And, especially because it is within walking distance of both my home and office - actually pretty much midway between them - we decided to try the Darien Butcher Shop.

And one of the things we found is that while the meat is a little more expensive, we actually waste a lot less. Almost every week we'd throw meat away because it would pass the expiration date before we were able to use it. But no more. Now we buy only what we are going to eat that day and nothing more. So in the end, we're actually spending less.

More importantly, my 22-year-old daughter loves the place and the people who work there. Since she got out of college and started working, she's actually begun doing more of the cooking at home, and she's turned to these folks for guidance and suggestions, and it ends up she makes one hell of a steak.

It isn't just the butcher that has changed our habits. Just across the parking lot, there is a really good fishmonger, where they also make amazing sushi. And around the corner, there's a small, independently owned wine shop. We go there, too, because they offer interesting wines and lot of guidance, stuff we can't get at the big box liquor stores.

Now, these kinds of stores won't necessarily be successful in every community, and they won;t be for every customers. But I do think they represent a different kind of competition that traditional supermarkets need to think about ... because they are doing a very good job of being a resource for information in addition to being a source of product. They are coming at the challenge of attracting consumers from a different angle ... creating relationships with consumers based on knowledge, experience and service.

I think it is worth noting.

And one other note. As my habits have changed, whether moving over to Amazon or the local butcher shop, I have not seen one iota of evidence that the retailers with which I used to do business have noticed. No emails. No specials. No promotions aimed at luring me back. Nothing.

It is as if they don't even know that business is being siphoned off. In many ways, it seems to me that not knowing that new competition is having an impact is even more dangerous than having to face off against new competition.

That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning, and as always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

KC's View: