jay jacobowitz

If you’ve had a chance to read last month’s 38th Annual Retailer Survey Overview, with the Retail Insights’ 2016 Universe for Premium Natural and Organic Food, Supplement and Personal Care Sales (WholeFoods Magazine, December, 2015, page 25), you know that the Cincinnati, OH-based Kroger conventional supermarket chain is generating billions of dollars in sales from its natural and organic Simple Truth private label brand, helping drive the nearly 40% overall growth of natural and organic products within the conventional supermarket retail channel.

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You’ve probably heard the term “frenemies,” a new word that combines “friends” and “enemies.” In the business world, frenemies are two competitors that cooperate with each other to increase business, but at the expense of sharing customer purchase data and other proprietary business information. The birth of the Internet spawned the term, as smaller companies with something to sell struck deals with large web portals like Google, Facebook and Amazon in order to get access to the millions of eyeballs visiting these massive sites every day.

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If you were to close your store tomorrow, what would your customers miss most? I ask the question to help you pinpoint what makes your store different from your competitors.

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Jay Jacobowitz

As if there weren’t enough competition…Whole Foods Market decides to compete against itself.

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You spend your days helping others achieve optimal health, but what about your store? As the old adage goes, it is always the cobbler’s children that have no shoes. So, with March in full swing, and your vitamin and supplement sales at their annual peak, now is a good time to plan how you will optimize your slower summer months. Here are a few things you can think about to help get your store in good shape—optimal health, if you will.

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What is the state of the natural products industry in 2015? For a clear picture, let’s look at what the consumer wants, which has been rapidly changing.

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What products should you carry? The answer to this question 20 years ago was fairly simple, since natural products weren’t widely available; you just carried them all. But today, with retail competitors in eight separate distribution channels offering some or all of the same products you carry, the answer becomes more complex.

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Please take a careful look at the photo nearby. Notice the not-so-subtle LARGE numbers for the produce this conventional supermarket carries, and the teeny-weenie numbers for its “competitors.”

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A couple of weeks before my mother passed away, and knowing she soon would, I asked for any advice she would give me. I was 31 at the time. After pausing for a moment, Mom answered, “Try to build something.”

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Every business owner does it; thinks about selling from time to time. If you are an independent natural products retail store owner, chances are you’ve owned your store for a decade or more. Could it be time to pass the torch?

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