June is local strawberries and snap peas and copious salads – and the promise of summer’s full bounty, just around the corner.
The first week of June also marks Radish & Rye’s anniversary. Eight years! It’s also now one year since we launched our venture into non-local goodies and a general widening of our product lineup.
Next year at this time we’ll also be celebrating one year as members of the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA), a nation-wide cooperative of, you guessed it, independent natural-focused grocers and related businesses. Comprising several hundred local businesses across the US, the group shares wisdom and resources (a huge boon for me, with no prior grocery experience), runs joint marketing campaigns, and – perhaps most significantly – leverages its collective buying power to give us small independent folks access to pricing competitive with much larger corporations on many popular national brands.*
This means price drops on dozens of items throughout the store, as well as monthly “Deep Deals” on select products, many as much as 40-50% off. Check them out in this newsletter, and look for the purple tags in-store. Don’t snooze – these deals are good through June 25th (while supplies last) and then a fresh round drops in July.
We’re also bringing in a wide variety of new products from some well-known national brands like Cascadian Farm and Annie’s, thanks to new pricing that allows us to offer them competitively. My experience has been that many larger brands (and both Cascadian Farm and Annie’s are owned by General Mills) seem to offer the largest volume discounts, making it difficult for smaller retailers to compete on their products. Selling the exact same products as the Big grocery stores but at a higher price has never struck me as a particularly viable business model – or one that creates much value for the community – so we’ve mostly opted out of carrying anything we can’t offer competitively.
The upside of this is that we’ve been able to focus on smaller brands who in turn are focusing on quality, both in sourcing and flavor, and I will always want to showcase those folks. We have always been looking for – and will continue to be looking for – smaller brands (especially local ones!) offering a good value on a high quality, sustainably and ethically sourced product. These brands often aren’t competing on price with the cheapest options on the shelf, but they are often able to nail the price-to-quality ratio – aka, provide a great value. And when we work directly with producers or via local or regional distributors, we’re often able to provide everyday prices lower than those that can be found on the same or comparable products at the Big stores (if they even offer comparable products!).
On the other hand, the downside to this approach has been – no Cinnamon Crunch cereal.
And it’s on Deep Deal this month for $3.50/box – that is a price to compare!
I love that every year of Radish & Rye brings us new challenges and joys, new problems and victories, and new friends and communities. I remain, as I have for the past eight years, so grateful to have the opportunity to do this work; to bring the best food and the best values to our community; to exist in community with all of you, with our beautiful network of local farmers and makers, and now with a national network of like-minded businesses. I really believe that together we can create the world we want to live in, and I hope that we are getting closer all the time to the best of all possible worlds.
Thank you for being with us on this journey, and for all your support over the years.
With much love,
Julia (and Dusty)
*For an interesting and informative take on the repercussions of the buying power of some of the largest retailers, check out Stacy Mitchell’s May 29th essay in the New York Times “The Real Reason Your Groceries Are Getting So Expensive”.