Human Element Gives Independents Edge Over Chains: Sheridan

Joe Sheridan
Joe Sheridan

Although the rate of change for all businesses is speeding up, "the independent grocer is adaptable and resourceful, and we can do what we have to do quicker and better than the large chains," Joe Sheridan, president and chief operating officer of Wakefern Food Corp., Keasbey, N.J., and chairman of the National Grocers Association, told NGA at the opening session of its 30th annual convention.

"While the digital element gives us detente, it's the human element that gives us growth. So it's a matter of delivering the best customer experience we can at store level," he said.

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Peter Larkin
Peter Larkin

In his remarks, Peter J. Larkin, NGA chairman and CEO, said the association is on the verge of being able to supply proof to outsiders of how important the independent grocery sector is to the economy. "We know it, but for the first time ever, we will have facts to back up what we know — that we create a lot of jobs, that we pay a lot of taxes, and that we are essential to the economic success of the U.S."

The study that will provide the facts is "just wrapping up," with the results expected to be available within weeks, Larkin said.

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