The secret to surviving the changing grocery industry


SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– It wasn’t that long ago Lucky’s Market announced it’d be closing most of its stores around the country, including its Springfield, Missouri location. Hy-Vee announcing it would shorten its operating hours happened even more recently.

“People kind of like the Cheers thing. People want to go where people know their name, and know what they buy.”

-Diana Hicks, Owner of Mama Jeans

Lucky’s closings came on the heels of Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer, selling its stake in the affordable health food brand.

As for why Hy-Vee is cutting its daily operating hours, it’s only said the decision was made to increase the quality of its shoppers’ experience.

But success in the grocery game isn’t out of reach for some, namely Diana Hicks, owner of Springfield’s Mama Jeans.

Mama Jeans has been in business since 2002, just one year before Lucky’s Market opened its first store. Both stores have primarily appealed to the same health-conscious shopper base. So why has Mama Jeans been able to sustain success, while Lucky’s has struggled?

Well if you ask Hicks, she’ll tell you success is found in independence and homegrown appeal.

“I just think that we’re able to be more flexible to offer our customers what they want instead of having to wait for an answer from corporate,” Hicks told Ozarks First. “People kind of like the Cheers thing. People want to go where people know their name, and know what they buy.”

And that community-minded brand, Hicks says, is even enough to encourage repeat business in an era of technology-based grocery pickup programs that entice shoppers to spend less and less time in the store.

But don’t take our word for it.

Let this customer we spoke with sum it up.

“I actually live out in the country outside of Joplin, but when I come to Springfield, I always come to this store.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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