Roy's Market and Roy's II

In 2004, Peter Robinson purchased Roy's Market and Roy's II in Peterborough, New Hampshire, from his uncle, Albert Roy, and his wife. Roy's Market, a staple of the community, has been in the same location on Main Street since 1938. Long-term employees Noel LaFortune (42 years), Phil Burt (35 years), and Dwight Jarest (28 years) are well-known by every customer.

Roy's II, separated by a row of parking spaces from Roy's Market, is a smaller store providing grab-and-go convenience alternatives. Peter recently added a kitchen in order to introduce more food service and home meal replacements. No preservatives are used in their freshly prepared items. They also have a hot breakfast and lunch business and plan to add their own line of organic salad dressing.

As Roy's business has grown, space has become an issue. Relocation was an option, but Peter wanted to stay downtown. In 2008, he and his wife, Amilbia, purchased Maggie's Market Place next door.

Maggie's Market Place is focused on organics, vitamins, bulk foods, gluten-free products, natural HBA, and some kitchen gadgets. “We considered knocking down the wall and connecting the storefronts, but decided against it due to building codes. This was a blessing in disguise, as we learned that some of our health food customers are uncomfortable in a store that has a butcher shop. If you listen, customers will tell you how to run your business.”

In January 2010, Roy's Market was remodeled and 70 percent of the equipment replaced. New, green technology was used in an effort to be more environmentally responsible; to date, power consumption has been cut by 15 percent. The storefront was also updated. With the help of AG New England, the entire remodel was completed in just five days.

“Our stores market to different customers,” Peter explains. “There's only a 1 percent to 2 percent overlap in items between Maggie's Market Place and Roy's Market. We strive to craft the stores to their individual customers in a complimentary way. As independents, we need to take advantage of our smallness, our uniqueness. Customers know they get terrific service. And those who need a little extra help, for whatever reason, will get it from the minute they walk in until their groceries are in the car.”

“One of the challenges we face as smaller independents is a need to draw in and entice younger customers,” Peter adds. “There is a whole generation that is only familiar with chain store shopping. To them, the perception that size means better selection and better pricing must be overcome. Having four different brands of peas isn't really better selection. We realize that many of these younger shoppers aren't accustomed to service. They are used to shopping with minimal contact. There is a sense of detachment that pervades modern society. We need to recognize these perceptions and find different ways to attract these customers and show them a better shopping experience.”

“As entrepreneurs,” Peter continues, “we can cater to our communities, market our uniqueness, and listen to our customers. Unlike the chains with their multiple managerial levels, independents can respond quickly. Another advantage is the ability to support the 'buy local' movement in ways the chains cannot. It's not just about Produce. We can do a better job in supporting local businesses by providing an outlet to sell products from cottage industries that chains simply can't. It creates a better connection with the community and helps brand your store as the place to buy local.”

Peter and Amilbia Robinson have built a unique reputation as purveyors of traditional groceries, convenience grab-and-go items, home meal replacements, and all-natural organic products. By listening to their customers and tailoring their businesses accordingly, they employ a horizontal marketing strategy, and have built complimentary businesses and laid the foundation for sustainable growth.

Have you laid the foundation for the future of your business?