Published on: October 19, 2017
This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either ... they are similar, but not exactly the same. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.
Hi, Kevin Coupe here, and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
This morning’s FaceTime was recorded in Dearborn Michigan, where I had the privilege of spending some time in the Westborn Market there.
I get asked a lot about the stores that I would identify as being best of class in the US - and one of the companies I always mention is Westborn, which has four stores operating in the Detroit market.
That statement usually is greeted with blank looks. “Westborn?” they inevitably say. “Never heard of them.”
That’s true. Most people haven’t. But I think that Westborn is a kind of hidden-in-plain-sight jewel of the US food business.
There are numerous reasons that Westborn is so good. (You can see some pictures of this 18,000 square-foot store below.) First of all, it doesn’t look like a traditional store - there aren’t the aisles that one normally associates with a food store, but rather lots of cases at odd angles, unusual display pieces, exposed brick and glass and unconventional lighting … all of which create the image of one of the coolest farmers’ markets you’ve ever been to.
These folks are superior when it comes to fresh foods, especially produce, but that expertise is paired with what I think is a simple but compelling message: “Eat Good Food.”
That message is repeated everywhere, even on the private label products.
There is a ton of grocery - 35,000 SKUs worth - but there clearly is an effort made by Westborn to have items that nobody else has, or at the very least would be hard to find elsewhere.
This is incredibly important, especially these days. As we keep saying here, over and over - competitions are won where you are differentiated, not where you are the same. This is the kind of compelling store experience that you can’t get online … you want to come here, because it is an adventure.
Maybe the most compelling thing about the Westborn store is the fact that it smells great … the aromas of good food waft over entire store .. you can smell the spices, you can smell the seasoning, you can smell the food, and it makes you hungry, and that is the best way to sell food.
Amazon can’t offer that. Walmart won’t offer that. Very few stores will go out of their way to make themselves smell any different from the chain drug store next door.
That’s what Westborn Market does. I’m all in … because not only is life too short to drink lousy wine and eat indifferent food, but I think it’s also too short to shop at mediocre stores.
Like I said, Westborn is a jewel.
That’s what is on my mind this morning, and as always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: