Skip navigation
SN Independent Superstars
About 40% of Wright’s Market’s customers are in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), so sharp pricing is especially important.

Drive 18% double-digit gains across all categories? Here’s how one grocer did it.

Jimmy Wright used a store remodel, expanded assortments, and promotional efforts to drive sales gains at Wright’s Market


As consumer prices began increasing in the last few years, Jimmy Wright sprang into action.

The owner of Wright’s Market in Opelika, Ala., set out to combat rising prices by implementing a series of merchandising initiatives that, when combined with some clever promotions, helped make 2023 the best year ever for the store’s sales and profitability. Sales were up 18% last year, compared with 2022 levels, with double-digit gains across all categories, he said.

“We had no desire to slash employees’ hours or cut back on services just to fund some price decreases or price promotions,” Wright explained. 

About 40% of Wright’s Market’s customers are in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), so sharp pricing is especially important.

To help improve operational efficiency, Wright installed energy-efficient coolers for produce, which resulted in all of the refrigerated produce items being stored behind glass doors. That generated considerable cost savings, Wright said.

“Our produce shrink virtually went away,” he said.

The refrigeration revamp also allowed Wright’s Market to expand its fresh variety, he said, and to introduce a prepared foods program. In addition, the store added new meat cases and began merchandising bulk meats for the first time. The bulk meat program includes about 22 items sourced from foodservice suppliers, such as 10-pound boxes of steaks, 10-pound boxes of ribs, and 15-pound boxes of seafood. This program provides cost-saving solutions for customers who typically buy these items from club stores.

In another cost-savings move, Wright’s also eliminated its printed mail circulars.

Together those strategies helped the company fund a low-price lockdown on some core items, which the retailer stayed aggressive on to better compete against the low-price operators in the market, Wright said.

The expanded variety of products helped the company make up for the profit margins that were lost on the low-price locks, Wright explained.

Much of the company’s promotional activity was aligned with IGA’s “Shop Local. Eat Fresh. Spend Less.” marketing platform, which the store touted with in-store signage.

Wright also launched a fuel-savings program called Free Fuel Fridays, which allowed shoppers to enter a drawing for $25 worth of fuel from a local gas station operator, with 10 prizes awarded each week. Then, as grocery inflation began ramping up sharply last year, the store transitioned the promotion to become “Free Food Fridays” instead, with the same premise — a weekly drawing for 10 prizes of $25 worth of free groceries each.

In addition, Wright’s Market last year also launched a program offering a 10% discount for the store’s 35 employees.

Wright’s Market also participates in the Double Up Food Bucks initiative, which allows the retailer to reduce the price that SNAP recipients pay for fresh produce. In June of last year, Wright’s also joined the USDA’s Healthy Fluid Milk Initiative, which offers SNAP recipients half price on skim and 1% milk.

This feature is part of our 2024 “SN Independent Superstars” list: see more superstars here.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.