There are still mom-and-pop grocery stores in the Twin Cities area, but they may struggle to keep their share of sales as other retailers shift around in the market.
“They are feeling the pressure of other players as they enter the market,” said Nina Brooks Haag, director of marketing and strategy for New Brighton, Minn.-based H. Brooks & Co.
H. Brooks & Co. is one of the oldest wholesale produce dealers in the Twin Cities area.
Adam Gamble, president of Russ Davis Wholesale, Wadena, Minn., said independent stores are not as common anymore.
“Chains dominate the market, but some are independently owned and operated,” he said.
Large chains such as Cub Foods and Lunds & Byerly’s make up a significant portion of the market, as do giants such as Wal-Mart and Target.
“There are some smaller, family-owned chains but not a whole lot of true independents anymore,” Gamble said.
Brian Hauge, president of Wholesale Produce Supply Co., Minneapolis, said he has noticed the retail market is competitive, although he’s not directly involved.
“We sell on the wholesale level so we’re not that close, but there seems to be a fight for the market. We’re not sure how that will all play out,” he said.
Still, Jeff Swanson, director of corporate communications for Supervalu Inc., Eden-Prairie, Minn., said he doesn’t expect to see those independent stores disappear any time soon.
“There are some very strong independent retailers,” he said.
Co-ops, farmers markets and other nontraditional retail outlets also are an important part of the produce supply chain in the Twin Cities.
Dean Schladweiler, produce manager of The Wedge Community Co-Op, Minneapolis, said those operations are succeeding.
“There is a long history of co-ops in this area, most with expansions done or in the works — Mississippi Market, Seward, and Lakewinds, along with The Wedge,” he said.
Schladweiler said farmers markets also have a long history in the area, and that those markets complement each other.