Store Review: White’s IGA Forest Glen

Located in the picturesque Sunshine Coast of Queensland, White’s IGA Forest Glen offers a unique and exciting shopping experience designed to entice and captivate customers through intimate store design featuring handpicked, artisan and bespoke products ranged and sourced through its exclusive locavore program and a great mix of everyday products at competitive prices.    

“We create a heartspace for our community to gather, socialise and feel connected. We are the only supermarket group in the world to facilitate the technology companion created by C’erge, to provide an inclusive, independent, and personalised service for our shoppers who identify with disability,” explained Roz White, owner of White’s IGA Group.

The mission at White’s IGA Forest Glen, and all White’s IGAs, is to help customers make better, conscious, and mindful selections to transform their shopping experience from a standardised experience to an enjoyable, empowered, personalised, connected, and fulfilling one.

“Our stores are uniquely designed in tune with their location to reflect local history and individuality and to capture the nuances that exist in each community, subtly interwoven and represented through design and layout. Every touchpoint within the store has been deeply considered and carefully selected to that which is unique to White’s IGA and the community to create a welcome feeling.”

Supporting local

White’s IGA’s unique and exclusive locavore program supports local businesses by sourcing food and products that are grown, raised, or produced locally, usually within 200 kilometres from the store.

“White’s IGA’s distinctive locavore culture supports over 200 local suppliers and contractors with local, national, and international recognition. It was recently admired and highlighted through the global office of IGA Inc. based in the USA,” said White.

The store deepens the locavore messaging in-store through unique ticketing, locavore market days, taste testing, and food demonstrations, designed to connect customers to the creator and ignite a passion and love for local food.

Recently, White has seen an escalation in the wellness category and special dietary, displaying that living a healthy lifestyle is becoming increasingly important to shoppers.

“Health, energy or vitamin shots, sugar-free drinks and varying alternatives to traditional sodas are popular. Premium and sustainable non-plastic options by local providers such as OK Boocha and Heads of Noosa, provides broad shopping choice for the customer. White’s IGA places a huge emphasis on sourcing local products which means food is fresher and kinder to the planet by minimising transportation.

“Adapting range to pursue new opportunities for alternative products is essential to stay viable and capture and combat market changes. Shoppers needs change all the time and so we must embrace new lines and make space for our modern shoppers needs.”

Stocking traditional grocery at everyday prices, mixed with hot specials, easy meal solutions, private label and a good representation of traditional brands proves popular with shoppers at White’s IGA.

Building relationships

As an independent supermarket operator, relationships are paramount for White. This independence enables them a wide scope to build meaningful and enduring relationships with customers, the industry, and community.

“It is imperative to build strong relationships with suppliers and your trading partners. Business is built on relationships. Immerse yourself in your industry, build networks and create friendships to gain insights and support. Being up to date and informed creates a great platform for new ideas. 

“Three decades of partnerships feels more like old friends. There is a camaraderie that exists through longevity.”

One such partnership is the one that White’s IGA has formed with Queensland-based chicken brand Lenard’s.

“We have stocked Lenard’s products in our stores for as long as I can remember. I believe we gained greater access to the products when the brand moved away from the exclusive standalone franchise model. Offering our customers this value-add line at the time of availability brought some excitement to our delis and meat offer.”

Remaining relevant

The ever-changing nature of retail throws up many challenges, but also many opportunities. For White, she says that while retail keeps challenging them, is also inspires them to innovate and change to the needs of the modern shopper.

“We continue to adapt our business model to remain relevant and market leading, which requires not just physical changes to layouts and design, but the management of margins and sales to remain viable.

“My biggest epiphany over 30 years of grocery retailing is in the words of Bob Proctor ‘you don’t decide your purpose, you discover it’. When your passion and purpose come to life, you can craft your vision, and focus with clarity. When you understand these fundamentals, you just know what to do and then get on with it.”

Roz White has clearly discovered her purpose, having opened six IGA stores since purchasing their first IGA site in 2004.

“Wherever you might be in your retailing journey, always keep learning, adapt and change, refine and improve, reinvest to grow. Don’t stand still, otherwise you will easily slip behind and your competitors will take advantage of the opportunity you have left on the table.”

This article originally appeared in the April/May issue of Convenience and Impulse Retailing magazine.

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