Natural and organic retailer Plum Market has opened its first Florida full-service grocery store as the company gradually expands its national presence.
In addition to its new location in Aventura, Fla., the Farmington Hills, Mich.-based retailer plans to open new full-service groceries in Hollywood, Calif., and Washington, D.C. in 2023, while also expanding its line of small format stores. Plum Market currently operates five full-service groceries, including four the Detroit area, seven small format stores and 14 foodservice locations.
Small format sites include Detroit Metro Airport, the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Mich., Butler University in Indianapolis, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and Cleveland’s University Circle, an area that includes museums, universities, and hospitals. A second store in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport is scheduled to open this year.
The new South Florida store will feature more than 100 local brands, all natural and sustainably sourced meats and seafood, and chef-crafted prepared dishes made from all natural ingredients.
In selecting expansion locations, Plum Market seeks area with high traffic and density, said Matt Jonna, chief executive officer and co-founder. He added that the company also opened the Aventura store “because of the overwhelming volume of requests we’ve received from our guests over the years.” Jonna, a former Whole Foods executive, founded the company in 2006 with this brother Marc.
Its focus on offering natural, organic, specialty and locally sourced products is enabling Plum Market to keep pace with the greater consumer interest in health and wellness and sustainability. Yet, the retailer also is facing the challenge of managing the rising cost of goods and labor, Jonna said. In response, the operator is leveraging an aggressive loyalty program, spotlighting digital discounts, and targeting customers with personalized offers to help attract price-conscious shoppers, he said.
The retailer also is offering a range of ready-to-eat prepared foods that are included in daily specials, including rotisserie chicken, grilled or marinated salmon filets, beer battered cod, sirloin steak and chicken wings.
In addition, Plum Market is focusing on product quality, variety, and social responsibility to standout from competitors. Merchandising methods include a “Miles to Market” program in which stores showcase locally sourced items and list how many miles a product has traveled from its source to the store, which is typically less than 350 miles. Stores also are marketing hard-to-find exotic organic fruits and vegetables and emphasizing the use of compostable and reusable packaging and a recycling program.
Yet, despite its strong expansion plans, Plum Market has not been free of setbacks. In 2022, the company closed a store it had been operating in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood since 2013 following the termination of its lease. In a letter to customers, Jonna wrote that the company invested more than $1 million into improvements and renovations to the space since its opening and had no intention of closing its doors. The closure reportedly resulted in the layoff of 121 employees. Plum Market was replaced by another grocer at the location, Dom’s Kitchen & Market, which also emphasizes, quality, locally sourced items, and sustainability.