By Sara Counihan
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Goods Mart is redefining convenience in bodega-heavy New York City. Rachel Krupa is the founder of The Goods Mart with two locations in New York City, and she says her love of convenience stores started at a young age—growing up in a small town in Michigan, she would visit the local Sunoco with her parents often, and it was the lifeline of the community, she says.
“That’s where the love came, and then it just grew more once I learned more about the food industry and looking at how can you take a modern twist on a convenience store how we have with The Goods Mart,” said Krupa on this week’s Convenience Matters podcast episode.
The Goods Mart is a small convenience store in a city full of small bodegas, and Krupa differentiates her store by carrying better-for-you products that are usually up-and-coming brands. The store is “small enough and nimble enough to put [new brands] on our shelves and rotate them quickly,” but when the pandemic hit, her business model needed to adjust.
“Most people in the height of the pandemic were looking for essentials. … It wasn’t the new bar that someone was grabbing for or a new type of potato chip or cracker, but those are the items that made people feel good, and so it was layering that on top of the essentials,” said Krupa.
Krupa started carrying snack boxes during the pandemic to “surprise and delight” people, and the boxes have stuck.
“Our snack boxes right now just shifted a little bit [since the height of the pandemic]. We have emerging or rising stars, so that’s all the newest products that are hitting our shelves. People want to just dabble and try things. It’s experiential, it’s discovery, so people are loving that,” said Krupa.
Krupa says that customers are wanting an experience, so the store carries a lot of new products with ingredients that come from other cultures, such as black gram (an Indian root vegetable) and cactus products. The Goods Mart also has a Founded Snack Box, which are female and BIPOC-founded producers.
Krupa finds these unique products in a variety of ways, including Google searches, traveling, going to local coffee shops and visiting the NACS Show. It’s a lot of work, Krupa admits, but worth it.
“It’s incredible to have the products on our shelves as one of the first retailers. And that’s what we’re looking to do is just ask the question of how can we actually be a true partner with the brands that fill our store versus just a retailer that sells their brand, and how do we help uplift [them],” said Krupa.
You don’t want to miss this Convenience Matters podcast episode No. 322 featuring Rachel Krupa. Hear about her journey from The Goods Mart in Los Angeles to her newest location in Rockefeller Center, the latest trends she sees that she wants to incorporate into her stores and how small operators can market their store with lean team.
The Goods Mart was featured in NACS’ 2019 Ideas 2 Go video series, and NACS visited the store again in the 2020 series.
Listen and download this week’s episode now. You can also listen to the podcast, read the transcript and learn more about our guests at conveniencematters.com.
Sara Counihan is contributing editor of NACS Daily and NACS Magazine. Contact her at email@example.com.