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YCQM: June 1, 2014 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: June 1, 2014

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>> AND GOOD MORNING,
EVERYONE, I'M DARREN PARRIN,
THE TRENDS AND MERGER OF TWO
ASSOCIATIONS, TALKING
BUSINESS IN VERMONT THIS
MORNING WITH THE PRESIDENT OF
THE VERMONT RETAIL AND
GROCERS ASSOCIATION, JIM
HARRISON, AND ONE OF THE
BIGGEST HEADLINES LATELY, THE
ARRIVAL OF TRADER JOE'S.
GINA BULLARD GOT A LOOK
BEFORE THE DOORS OFFICIALLY
OPENED.


>> I'M HERE NOW AT THE FIRST
EVER VERMONT TRADER JOE'S,
AND I'M JOINED BY CAPTAIN
SEAN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR
GIVING US YOUR TIME.


>> THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.


>> TELL ME, PEOPLE THAT DON'T
KNOW, WHAT IS TRADER JOE'S.


>> TRADER JOE'S IS A UNIQUE
GROCERY STORE.
IT'S A NEIGHBORHOOD GROCERY
STORE.
80 PERCENT OF OUR ITEMS ARE
SOLD UNDER THE TRADER JOE'S
LABELS.


>> WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?


>> THAT MEANS THAT EVERYTHING
IS SOLD UNDER THE TRADER
JOE'S LABEL, THERE'S NO GMOS,
NO PRESERVATIVES, NO
ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, NO
SYNTHETIC COLORS.


>> AND TALK TO ME ABOUT
PRICE.
ESPECIALLY FOR THE TRADER JOE
ITEMS.


>> SO PRICE POINTS.
ONE THING AT TRADER JOE'S,
YOU WON'T FIND A WHOLE
SECTION OF JUST LIKE KETCHUP.


>> OKAY.


>> SO WE HAVE ONE KETCHUP, WE
THINK IT'S AN AMAZING
PRODUCT, A GREAT VALUE.


>> IS THAT THE ONLY KETCHUP
IN THE WHOLE STORE.


>> THE ONLY KECH YUM.


>> 1.99.


>> 1.99, TRADER JOE'S KECH
EUROPE, THAT'S THE SAME --
KETCHUP, THE SAME THROUGHOUT
THE STORE, ONE RELISH, ONE --


>> MAKES SHOPPING A LITTLE
EASIER.


>> YES.


>> TELL ME ABOUT THE RETURN
POLICY.


>> TRADER JOE'S, THE RETURN
POLICY IS 100 PERCENT
GUARANTEED.
IF YOU TRY SOMETHING AND YOU
DON'T LIKE IT, WE WANT YOU TO
RETURN IT FOR A FULL REFUND.


>> SO LET'S SAY I TRY THIS
ALMOND BUTTER AND I'M NOT
LOVING IT, I CAN BRING IT
BACK.


>> BUT YOU WILL REALLY LOVE
IT!


>> BUT IF I DON'T, I CAN
RETURN IT.


>> YOU CAN RETURN T. NO
QUESTIONS ASKED.


>> 100 PERCENT, GUARANTEED
REFUND.


>> OKAY.


>> WE WANT YOU TO TRY THE
PRODUCT.


>> OKAY, AND TELL ME ABOUT
THE BUYING PHILOSOPHY.


>> AS MUCH AS WE CAN, WE BUY
DIRECT FROM THE MANUFACTURER,
AND THAT ALLOWS US TO TAKE
OUT ALL THE THINGS THAT WE
DON'T WANT TO HAVE IN THE
PRODUCTS, GMOS, THE
ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS AND COLOR,
AND IT ALSO ALLOWS US TO
OFFER THAT PRODUCT AT A GREAT
PRICE.


>> WHEN I COME TO TRADER
JOE'S, I THINK OF TWO BUCK
CHUCK.
SOME DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS.
TALK ABOUT TWO BUCK CHUCK.


>> TWO BUCK CHUCK, IT'S A
GREAT WINE.
IT'S 2.99 HERE ACTUALLY.
BUT IT'S A GREAT WINE, AGAIN,
AT A GREAT VALUE.


>> $3.
I MEAN, THAT'S CRAZY!


>> YEAH.


>> TALK ABOUT WHY THIS
COMMUNITY NEEDS A PLACE LIKE
TRADER JOE'S, WE'RE RIGHT
NEXT TO HEALTHY LIVING,
OBVIOUSLY A HEALTH FOOD
GROCERY STORE.
IS THAT COMPETITION FOR YOU?


>> NO, TRADER JOE'S IS OUR
OWN COMPETITION, AND WE JUST
FEEL LIKE WE'RE ADDING TO THE
GROCERY LANDSCAPE IN
BURLINGTON, AND JUST GIVING
CONSUMERS THE OPTION.


>> SO THE TIKI BOARD BEST RE,
WHAT IS THAT.


>> THAT IS OUR DEMO AREA,
IT'S WHERE WE ARE ABLE TO
GIVE OUR CUSTOMERS SAMPLES OF
SOME OF OUR GREAT PRODUCTS.
FOR THE GRAND OPENING, WE'RE
DOING COOKIE BUTTER.


>> WHAT IS COOKIE BUTTER?


>> COOKIE BUTTER, WELL, YOU
HAVE TO TRY IT!
IT'S PRETTY AMAZING.
IT'S GROUND UP COOKIES, AND
YOU HAVE THAT --


>> THERE'S ALWAYS SOMETHING
TO TRY HERE.


>> ALWAYS SOMETHING TO TRY
HERE.


>> NO MATTER WHEN YOU COME
INTO THE STORE, THERE WILL BE
SOME SORT OF SAMPLE GOING ON.


>> EXACTLY, YEAH.


>> WHO DOESN'T WANT A GOOD
SAMPLE!
TELL ME ABOUT THE BELL.


>> AT THE REGISTERS, THE BELL
SYSTEM FOR TRADER JOE'S, IF
YOU RING ONE BELL, THAT MEANS
FOR THE REGISTERS, WE NEED
ADDITIONAL CASHIERS FOR THE
FRONT, TWO BELLS, THE CASHIER
NEEDS ASSISTANCE OF SOME
KIND, EITHER TO GET A PRODUCT
FOR A CUSTOMER OR TO OFFER A
CARRY-OUT FOR A CUSTOMER AND
THREE BELLS MEANS THAT THEY
NEED HELP FROM ONE OF THE
CAPTAIN.
SO ONE BELL -- SO IN GENERAL,
IT WOULD BE MORE TWO BELLS,
SO SOMEBODY KNOWS TO COME
OVER, BECAUSE WHOEVER IS HERE
ACTUALLY NEEDS HELP WITH
SOMETHING OR A CUSTOMER NEEDS
HELP.


>> SO A FUN GROCERY STORE
EXPERIENCE.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE STORE.


>> RIGHT.


>> THANK YOU.


>> AND JIM HARRISON JOINS US
NOW THIS MORNING.
THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.


>> WELL, THANK YOU.
IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE.


>> ENJOYED THE CONVERSATION
THIS MORNING.


>> TALK TO US ABOUT THE BUZZ
WITHIN THE INDUSTRY
SURROUNDING TRADER JOE'S
ARRIVAL.


>> YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES
BECAUSE WE'RE A SMALL STATE,
SOMETIMES WE ARE LATE IN
GETTING SOME OF THE MORE
ARRIVALS IN TERMS OF
ALTERNATE FORMATS, DIFFERENT
TYPES OF RETAILERS.
TRADER JOE'S IS AN EXCELLENT
EXAMPLE OF THAT.
WHAT IS VERY INTERESTING TO
ME IS THE MARKET, THEY DO A
LOT OF SPECIALTY FOODS, VERY
HEAVY IN THE PRIVATE LABEL,
AND THEY HAVE KIND OF A
DIFFERENT WAY.
AS YOU JUST SAW FROM THE
BELLS, TO THEIR HAWAIIAN
SHIRTS, AND THEY -- THEY ARE
NOT LARGE STORES, THEY ARE
NOT TRYING TO BE EVERYTHING
TO EVERYBODY THAT MAYBE A
CONVENTIONAL SUPERMARKET
MIGHT BE, BUT THE PRODUCTS
SEEM TO RESONATE.
IT WILL ADD ANOTHER DYNAMIC
TO THE MARKETPLACE.
THAT'S ALL GOOD, THAT'S ALL
HEALTHY.
JUST LIKE WE HAVE GOOD LOCAL
MERCHANTS, WHETHER IT'S CITY
MARKET THAT'S A CO-OP IN
BURLINGTON OR HUNGER MOUNTAIN
IN MONTPELIER OR HEALTHY
LIVING RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO
THIS, WE HAVE SOME VERY
UNIQUE, RICH MARKETS ON THE
FOOD SIDE OF THINGS AND
TRADER JOE'S IS ONE MORE
DYNAMIC TO THAT.


>> TRADER JOE'S, CURRENTLY
NOT A MEMBER OF THE
ASSOCIATION AT THIS POINT.
RIGHT NEXT DOOR, AS GINA HAD
TOUCHED ON, HEALTHY LIVING,
SHE HAD MENTIONED AS WELL.
DO YOU THINK THIS COULD BE
COMPETITION FOR HEALTHY
LIVING?
THEY'VE SEEN A HUGE BUSINESS
THERE IN SOUTH BURLINGTON.


>> HEALTHY LIVING DOES AN
ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING JOB
FOR THE TYPE OF MARKET THAT
THEY ARE RUNNING WITH NATURAL
FOODS, THE CAFE, AND A NUMBER
OF OTHER THINGS THAT THEY DO.
THEY DO COOKING CLASSES, THEY
DO A LOT OF THINGS, AND THEY
SUPPORT A LOT OF LOCAL
PRODUCTS, WHICH MIGHT BE A
LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT THAN
WHERE TRADER JOE'S COMES AT
IT.
YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW HOW
THE MARKETPLACE MEASURES OUT.
YOU KNOW, THERE IS CERTAINLY
-- AT THE END OF THE DAY,
WE'RE ALL ONE PIE, AND YOU
KNOW, UNLESS WE ALL WANT TO
GAIN MORE WEIGHT, WE'RE NOT
GOING TO CONSUME MORE FOOD,
SO SOMEWHERE, YOU KNOW, THAT
PIE GETS SHIFTED AROUND A
LITTLE BIT, AND ON THE OTHER
HAND, YOU KNOW, THERE IS
CERTAINLY SOMETHING TO BE
SAID WITH DRAWING MORE
TRAFFIC TO AN AREA, AND
RETAILERS THRIVE OFF OF THAT
BECAUSE IF THEY'VE GOT A
CUSTOMER COMING INTO THE
PARKING LOT, THEN THEY'VE GOT
A BETTER CHANCE OF SELLING
THEM SOMETHING IN THEIR
STORE.


>> SO EVEN WITH TWO GROCERY
STORES NEXT TO EACH OTHER?


>> ABSOLUTELY.
ABSOLUTELY.
COMPETITION IS GOOD.
IT'S HEALTHY.
THE CONSUMER WINS.
WHEN YOU HAVE MORE CHOICES IN
THE MARKET PLACE.
WHATEVER CHALLENGES ARE, WE
STILL DON'T HAVE A LOT OF
PEOPLE.
THAT'S WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT
VERMONT, WE LIKE THE OPEN
SPACES, BUT IT DOES
SOMETIMES, YOU KNOW, HINDER
US A LITTLE BIT IN TERMS OF
HAVING A WIDE VARIETY OF
DIFFERENT TYPES OF MARKETS,
WHETHER THAT'S FOOD OR
TRADITIONAL RETAIL.
OPENING A STORE IN
BURLINGTON, THAT'S GREAT.
IT'S A POSITIVE, IT'S ANOTHER
ALTERNATIVE SHOPPING AS
OPPOSED TO MAYBE A
TRADITIONAL JUST CLOTHING
STORE OR GENERAL MERCHANDISE
RETAILER.
COMPETITION IS GOOD, THE
CONSUMER BENEFITS WHEN THAT
HAPPENS.


>> TRADER JOE'S IS SEEING
LARGE CROWDS, EVEN TRAFFIC
JAMS IN THE FIRST COUPLE OF
WEEKS HERE.
HOW LONG CAN A RETAILER
EXPECT A SPIKE IN POPULARITY
AND INTEREST AFTER OPENING?


>> YOU KNOW, WE'RE ALL
CURIOUS.
WE ALL WANT TO SEE WHAT'S
GOING ON.
WE ALL WANT TO SEE WHAT'S
NEW.
SO THE FIRST COUPLE OF WEEKS,
THERE'S SORT OF A HONEYMOON
PERIOD WHERE CUSTOMERS WANT
TO GO IN, SEE WHAT THIS IS,
AND THEN THEY WILL SORT OF
GRAVITATE TOWARDS BACK WHAT
THEY DO, AND THEY WILL FIND
THAT TRADER JOE'S SERVES A
CERTAIN NICHE FOR THEM, YOU
KNOW, FOR HAVING A PARTY, WE
MAY WANT TO DO SOMETHING
DIFFERENT, THEY MAY HAVE SOME
DIFFERENT PRODUCTS.
THEY MAY FIND THERE ARE
CERTAIN STAPLES THAT THEY
GRAVITATE TOWARDS BECAUSE
THEY LIKE THAT BRAND OR THEY
LIKE THAT PRICE POINT, ET
CETERA.
BUT IT WILL START TO SUGAR
OUT AFTER A COUPLE OF WEEKS
AND THEY WILL DO SOME GOOD
BUSINESS, I'M SURE.
THEY'VE BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL.
ONE OF THE THINGS I FOUND
VERY INTERESTING IS I'M
LOOKING RECENTLY AT A TOP 50
FOOD RETAILER COMPILATION
RECENTLY, IN PROGRESSIVE
GROCER MAGAZINE, TRADER JOE'S
IS LIKE 14TH, 15TH IN THE
COUNTRY.
THAT'S HUGE.
I EXPECTED IF YOU LOOKED AT
IT 10 YEARS AGO, THEY
WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ON THERE.
SO OBVIOUSLY, THEY ARE NOT
FOR EVERYBODY AND YOU CAN'T
DO ALL YOUR SHOPPING THERE,
BUT THEY WILL ATTRACT A
CERTAIN SEGMENT OF THE
POPULATION AND MORE POWER TO
THEM.
THEY'VE DONE WELL.


>> YOU MENTIONED L.L. BEAN
COMING TO BURLINGTON.
IT'S GOING TO BE LOCATED ON
CHERRY STREET, AS PART OF AN
ENTRANCE TO THE TOWN CENTER,
THE MALL, IN DOWNTOWN
BURLINGTON.
THERE'S REALLY BEEN A PUSH BY
THE CITY OF BURLINGTON TO
TRANSFORM CHERRY STREET,
WHERE THIS WILL BE LOCATED.
DO YOU THINK L.L. BEAN WILL
DO THAT?


>> WELL, L.L. BEAN IS FOR
MANY, MANY YEARS, YOU COULD
ONLY BUY L.L. BEAN OUT OF A
CATALOG OR IN FREEPORT,
MAINE.
IN FREEPORT, MAINE, THEY'VE
TURNED THAT INTO A
DESIGNATION, OPEN 365 DAYS A
YEAR, 24 HOURS A DAY.
THERE MIGHT BE A FISHING
DEMONSTRATION GOING ON RIGHT
INSIDE THE STORE.
THAT'S HOW YOU SEE TRADER
JOE'S WITH THE BELL, THEY
REALLY STRIVE TO BE
DIFFERENT.
IF YOU GO DOWN TO ORVIS IN
MANCHESTER, THEY DO THE SAME
TYPE OF THING.
THEY MIGHT BE DOING
DEMONSTRATIONS, TEACHING.
IT ADDS TO TAKING SOME OF THE
MUNDANENESS OUT OF SHOPPING.
IT'S EXCITING.
IT'S A REASON TO GO.
AND I THINK L.L. BEAN TRIES
TO DO SOME OF THAT.
NOW, WHEN THEY'VE OPENED
THESE SATELLITE STORES, IT'S
NOT THE SAME AS THE FLAGSHIP
STORE.
SO -- BUT YET, THEY MIGHT
HAVE SOME SPECIAL SALES, THEY
MIGHT HAVE, YOU KNOW, MORE OF
AN OUTLET-TYPE FEEL TO IT.
THAT'S ALL POSITIVE.
IT MAY HELP TO DRAW TRAFFIC
DOWNTOWN TO SAY LET'S CHECK
OUT L.L. BEAN.
IT'S MUCH NICER TO SEE
THINGS, TRY THINGS OUT IN
PERSON, RATHER THAN DO IT VIA
CATALOG OR THE INTERNET, SO
TO THE EXTENT THAT THAT HELPS
THAT TOWN SQUARE IN DOWNTOWN
BURLINGTON, I THINK THAT'S A
PLUS.
TRAFFIC IS -- WE ALL WANT
TRAFFIC.
WE THRIVE OFF TRAFFIC.
IF WE'RE A RETAILER NEXT
DOOR, OUR JOB IS TO TAKE
ADVANTAGE AND ATTRACT
CUSTOMERS WITH YOUR OWN
PRODUCTS.


>> WHAT ARE SOME OF THE
TRENDS WE ARE SEEING IN
RETAIL IN VERMONT?


>> WELL, IT'S GOING A NUMBER
OF DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.
ON THE FOOD, IT CONTINUES TO
INVOLVE AND CONTINUES TO
CHANGE.
I THINK TRADER JOE'S IS AN
EXAMPLE OF THAT.
YOU KNOW, I LOOK AT THE STORE
AS WE TALKED ABOUT EARLIER,
HEALTHY LIVING, WHICH IS, YOU
KNOW, RIGHT NEXT DOOR, AND
THAT STORE HAS GROWN FROM A
SMALLER UNIT UP THE STREET TO
A LARGE UNIT.
NOW THEY HAVE A SECOND STORE.
THAT MIGHT BE MORE SIMILAR TO
LIKE A WHOLE FOODS.
WHOLE FOODS, WE DON'T HAVE IN
VERMONT, BUT NATIONWIDE,
THERE ARE NOW CERTAINLY --
THEY ARE CERTAINLY NOW A KEY
PLAYER.
I THINK SOMEWHERE AROUND 12TH
LARGEST FOOD CHAIN IN THE
COUNTRY.
THAT'S HUGE.
ON THE OTHER END OF THE
SPECTRUM, THE LAST COUPLE OF
YEARS, WE'VE SEEN THE
ENTRANCE OF ALDY'S, WHICH HAS
TO BE A SISTER COMPANY OF
TRADER JOE'S.
VERY NO FRILLS, LOW-PRICE
OPERATION, YOU KNOW, DON'T
TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED,
YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET BAGS,
YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO FIND
A BOX OR BRING IN YOUR OWN
BAG OR BUY BAGS, YOU ARE
GOING TO NOT GET EVERYTHING,
AGAIN.
VERY MUCH PRIVATE LABEL.
YOU ARE GOING TO -- SO THAT'S
A DIFFERENT TREND.
AND ON THAT SAME END, NOT AS
MUCH IN VERMONT, BECAUSE --
MAYBE BECAUSE OF OUR
POPULATION DENSITY BUT
WALMART SUPERSTORES, ON THE
NEW HAMPSHIRE SIDE, AND IN
AREAS THAT PERHAPS ATTRACT
VERMONTERS, BUT ALSO, BIGGER
POPULATIONS ATTRACT THE
SUPERSTORES.
THEY ARE NOW THE LARGEST FOOD
RETAILER IN THE COUNTRY.
WE DON'T THINK OF WALMART
TRADITIONALLY AS A FOOD
RETAILER.
AGAIN, PRICE-DRIVEN.
AND -- BUT EVEN IN VERMONT,
YOU ARE SEEING MORE AND MORE
OF THAT.
MAYBE NOT WITH MEATS AND
PRODUCE, BUT YOU ARE SEEING
MORE AND MORE GROCERY
PRODUCTS IN STORES LIKE A
KMART OR A WALMART.
IT JUST CONTINUES TO EVOLVE.
TARGET IS LIKE THE THIRD
LARGEST RETAILER, FOOD
RETAILER, IN THE COUNTRY.
WE DON'T HAVE TARGETS IN
VERMONT.


>> I THINK WE WILL.


>> I THINK WE WILL.


>> WHERE?


>> IN THE GREATER BURLINGTON
AREA.
I THINK WE WILL.
YOU KNOW, TARGET DOES LARGE
STORES, AND WHEN YOU BUILD
LARGE STORES, YOU CAN'T
LOCATE THOSE EVERYWHERE.
YOU KNOW, LOOK AT THE WALMART
THAT WAS JUST BUILT IN SAINT
AUBURN'S, THAT WAS HUGE.
THAT WAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST
STORES IN VERMONT SQUARE
FOOTAGE WISE.
I'M GUESSING A LITTLE BIT BUT
IT'S A HUGE TO STORE.
AND YOU CAN'T PUT THOSE
EVERYWHERE.
WHEN YOU DO, YOU HAVE TO DRAW
FROM A WIDE AREA.
SO YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE THAT ON
ONE LEVEL, AND WE HAVE MORE
OF THE NICHE MARKETS ON THE
OTHER HAND.
TRADER JOE'S IS NOT VERY BIG.
MAYBE 12,000 SQUARE FEET,
GIVE OR TAKE.
A WALMART MIGHT BE
100,000-PLUS SQUARE FEET.
SO IT'S DIFFERENT.
AND THERE'S ROOM IN THE
MARKETPLACE FOR A LOT OF
DIFFERENT PLAYERS.
IT WILL GET SORTED OUT AS TO
WHAT THE CUSTOMERS ARE
LOOKING FOR.


>> LET ME TALK ON THIS WHOLE
POINT.
A LOT OF THE STORES YOU JUST
NAMED, WALMART, TARGET, L.L.
BEAN, TRADER JOE'S, THESE ARE
ALL CHAIN STORES.
DO YOU THINK VERMONT'S IMAGE
AND REPUTATION AS, YOU KNOW,
SORT OF A MOM AND POP NICHE
MARKET IS IN JEOPARDY WHEN WE
START SEEING THESE LARGE
STORES COME INTO SUCH A SMALL
STATE?


>> YOU KNOW, POSSIBLY.
BUT ON SOME LEVEL, AT THE END
OF THE DAY, THE CUSTOMER
DECIDES THAT.
RETAILERS REACT TO WHAT
CUSTOMERS WANT.
THE VERMONT ASSOCIATION, WE
HAVE A NUMBER OF WHAT I THINK
MAKES VERMONT SPECIAL, AND
THOSE ARE THOSE HISTORIC
COUNTRY STORES, GENERAL
STORES, YOU KNOW, I'M
THINKING OF YOU GO UP TO
GREENSBORO, THE WILLIE STORE,
LOCAL OF THE YEAR, THE
JERICHO CENTER, THE GENERAL
STORE IS PROBABLY THE OLDEST,
CONTINUALLY RUN GENERAL STORE
IN THE STATE.
WE'RE NOT BUILDING ANY MORE
OF THOSE, OBVIOUSLY, AND
EVERY YEAR, WE LOSE A FEW.
RECENTLY, THE BAKERSFIELD
STORE CLOSED.
YOU KNOW, THERE WERE TWO
STORES IN TOWN, PROBABLY THE
MARKET DOESN'T SUPPORT TWO
STORES ANY LONGER.
THAT'S HAPPENED IN OTHER
AREAS AS WELL.
IT'S VERY SAD PERSONALLY TO
SEE THAT, THE COMMUNITIES
MISS THAT.
TWO YEARS AGO, THE BARNARD
GENERAL STORE NEXT TO
SILVERLAKE AS YOU FOLKS KNOW
CLOSED, AND IT WENT A YEAR
BEFORE THE COMMUNITY GOT BACK
TOGETHER TO FIGURE OUT A WAY
TO HELP REOPEN THAT STORE AND
NOW THERE'S AN INDEPENDENT
OPERATOR, A COUPLE IN THERE,
YOUNG COUPLE, THAT ARE DOING
A VERY NICE JOB.
BUT UNFORTUNATELY, THEY HAD
TO LOSE A STORE FOR A PEER
BEFORE PERHAPS THEY REALIZED
WHAT WAS MISSING, AND ALL
SIGNS ARE THAT THAT IS GOING
ON THE RIGHT TRACK, FOLKS ARE
WORKING VERY HARD SERVICING
THAT COMMUNITY.
BUT IT'S SAD WHEN WE LOSE IT.
WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO HANG ON A
LOT LONGER IN A LOT OF OTHER
AREAS.
YOU DON'T SEE COUNTRY STORES
WHEN YOU GO TO SOME OTHER
AREAS, BUT THEY ARE MORE
URBAN.
IT'S VERY DIFFERENT.
YOU'VE GOT TO MAKE THEM
ECONOMICALLY VIABLE AND
SUPPORT LOCAL STORES IF YOU
WANT TO KEEP THEM.


>> WE NEED TO TAKE A BREAK,


>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYONE.
WE ARE TALKING THIS MORNING
WITH JIM HARRISON, PRESIDENT
OF THE VERMONT RETAIL AND
GROCERS ASSOCIATION.
EARLIER IN THE BROADCAST WE
HEARD THE SPOKESPERSON FROM
TRADER JOE'S MENTIONED THE
GMO-FREE EFFORTS.
AS YOU ARE WELL AWARE, THE
STATE ANNOUNCED A GMO
LABELING LAW.
IT IS EXPECTED TO BE
CHALLENGED.
IN THE MEANTIME HOW ARE
RETAILERS PREPARING, IF AT
ALL?


>> AT THIS POINT, EVERYONE IS
WAIT AND SEE.
THE RULES AND REGULATIONS
HAVEN'T BEEN AUGMENTED YET.
WE ACTUALLY INVITED THE
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE,
WHO WILL BE DOING THE RULE
MAKING, TO OUR SPECIALTY FOOD
MEETING NEXT WEEK JUST TO
TALK ABOUT THE PROCESS AND
WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.
AND ALSO, WE HAVE ONE OF THE
LAWMAKERS ON THE COMMITTEE
THAT HELPED WRITE THAT LAW TO
KIND OF EXPLAIN WHAT THE LAW
SAYS.
SO THROUGH PRODUCERS, THAT'S
WHERE THE FRONT LINE IS, THEY
HAVE TO FIGURE OUT, ONE, DO
WE HAVE TO DO LABEL, DO WE
HAVE INGREDIENTS THAT MIGHT
COME FROM GENETIC -- OR MAYBE
WE DON'T KNOW, HOW DO WE
FIGURE THAT OUT.
THERE IS A COURT ISSUE AND
THAT WILL BE WHAT IT IS, AND
WE'LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE.
BUT IN THE MEANTIME, FOOD
PRODUCERS HAVE TO FIGURE OUT
IF THEY HAVE TO LABEL TO
COMPLY WITH THE VERMONT LAW,
AND THEN, TWO, IF THEY DO,
AND THEY DO SOMETHING
DIFFERENTLY, YOU KNOW, DO
INGREDIENTS OR NON-GMO COST
MORE AND IS IT WORTH IT FOR
THEM TO DO IT SO THEY DON'T
HAVE TO LABEL, AND THEN
RETAILERS WILL HAVE TO FIGURE
OUT, OKAY, WHAT DO MY
CUSTOMERS WANT.
WE SEE AN INCREASING NUMBER
OF PRODUCTS THAT HAVE GONE
THROUGH THE EXTRA STEPS OF
BEING CERTIFIED NON-GMO AND
SALES OF THOSE ITEMS ARE
GROWING.
WHAT DO THEY DO ON THE OTHER
ITEMS?
IT'S NOT THEIR RESPONSIBILITY
UNLESS IT'S A LOOSE PRODUCT
LIKE PRODUCE, LIKE PAPAYAS
TYPICALLY ARE GENETICALLY
ENGINEERED, I GUESS, SO IF
THAT'S THE CASE, WILL THEY
HAVE TO DO A LABEL.
IT TAKES TIME TO UNDERSTAND
HOW TO SORT IT OUT BUT WE'LL
GET THERE.


>> YOU MENTIONED EARLIER IN
THE BROADCAST THAT ULTIMATELY
THE CONSUMERS FAVOR THEIR
POCKETBOOKS.
PART OF THE MOMENTUM THAT LED
TO PASSING THIS LAW WAS A
POLL SURVEY RESULT INDICATING
THAT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE
LINES OF 80 PERCENT OF
VERMONTERS WANTED TO SEE GMO
LABELS ON THEIR FOOD
OFFERINGS.
ARE RETAILERS GETTING THAT
SAME PUSH FROM CONSUMERS
WITHIN THEIR SHOPS, OR IS IT
ONLY SHOWING UP IN THE POLLS?


>> WELL, POLLS ARE A LITTLE
TRICKY BECAUSE DEPENDING UPON
HOW YOU ASK THE QUESTION, YOU
WILL GET AN ANSWER, AND I'M
NOT GOING TO SUGGEST AT ALL
THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE AREN'T
INTERESTED IN IT, BUT
OBVIOUSLY, THERE'S A FINITE
AMOUNT OF INFORMATION YOU CAN
PUT ON A PACKAGE, SO WHAT WE
DON'T ASK IS WOULD YOU LIKE
THIS TO BE LABELED OR WOULD
YOU LIKE CALORIE COUNT TO BE
LABELED, AND I'M NOT SAYING
YOU CAN'T DO BOTH, I'M JUST
SAYING AT SOME POINT, THERE
IS AN EITHER-OR SCENARIO.
SO -- OR A COST TO THAT.
BUT HAVING SAID ALL THAT,
THERE'S CORY A LOT OF PUBLIC
INTEREST IN THAT AND I THINK
THAT'S WHAT MOTIVATED
LAWMAKERS TO PASS A GMO
LABELING.
WE MAY HAVE A DIFFERENT
POSITION ON THE LABELING
BECAUSE IF WE'RE GOING TO DO
IT WE'D RATHER SEE IT DONE
UNIFORM NATIONWIDE, AS WE'RE
COUNTRIES HAVE, AND NOT TRY
TO GET INTO, YOU KNOW, THIS
PRODUCT IS FROM VERMONT OR
NEW YORK, BECAUSE NEW YORK
MIGHT PASS LABELING NEXT YEAR
BUT DO IT WITH A DIFFERENT
TWIST.
WE WOULD PREFER TO BE AS
EFFICIENT AS POSSIBLE, GIVE
THE CUSTOMER THE INFORMATION
THAT THEY WANT AND NEED, BUT
DO IT ON A NATIONAL, UNIFORM
BASIS.
HAVING SAID THAT IS CORRECT
THE COURTS WILL FIGURE OUT
WHETHER STATES CAN DO THIS OR
NOT.
THAT'S NOT FOR US TO GET
REALLY PREOCCUPIED WITH OR
TALK ABOUT, BECAUSE, YOU
KNOW, THAT'S REALLY OUT OF
OUR HANDS.


>> ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT
COST?
IS THAT THE BOTTOM LINE HERE?


>> WELL, IF YOU ASK FOOD
PRODUCERS, FOOD DISTRIBUTORS,
TO SEGREGATE PRODUCT AND SAY
OKAY, THIS KETCHUP IS GOING
TO VERMONT AND IT'S GOING TO
BE LABELED FOR VERMONT AND
THAT'S DIFFERENT THAN KETCHUP
GOING TO NEW YORK OR
MASSACHUSETTS OR NEW
HAMPSHIRE, THERE'S GOING TO
BE COST TO DOING THAT AND WHO
ULTIMATELY BEARS THAT OUT?


>> THERE ARE LEGISLATORS THAT
SAY IF THE LABEL IS ON THERE
THERE'S NOTHING FROM
PREVENTING THAT LABEL FROM
GOING TO THE OTHER STATE THAT
DOESN'T NECESSARILY REQUIRE A
LABEL.


>> THAT'S ABSOLUTELY TRUE.
WE JUST DON'T KNOW HOW THE
MARKETPLACE WILL SORT THAT
OUT AND WHETHER OR NOT THAT
LABEL IS CONSIDERED A
NEGATIVE, I DON'T KNOW.
AGAIN, THAT'S FOR CONSUMERS
ULTIMATELY TO DECIDE.
AND CONSUMERS ARE VERY SAVVY.
THEY LOOK AT A NUMBER OF
DIFFERENT THINGS.
LIKE WE JUST TALKED ABOUT,
DIFFERENT TYPES OF RETAILERS.
WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT WAYS OF
LOOKING AT THINGS.
ONE MIGHT LIKE TO SHOP AT
THEIR LOCAL CO-OP, THEY LIKE
THE VALUE OF THE LOCAL FOOD
PRODUCTS, THEY LIKE MAYBE
ORGANIC, ANOTHER CUSTOMER MAY
BE SHOPPING AT, YOU KNOW, A
LARGER CHAIN OPERATION
BECAUSE THEY ARE LOOKING AT
PRICING ISSUES.
WE ALL LOOK AT AND EVALUATE
THINGS DIFFERENTLY.
THERE'S NOT ONE RIGHT ANSWER
FOR EVERYBODY.
AND I THINK THE EXTENT THAT
WE CAN PROVIDE INFORMATION IN
A POSITIVE MANNER ON OUR
DIFFERENT CHOICES, WE ALL WIN
FOR THAT.


>> THIS YEAR, THERE'S A BIG
SUBJECT OF DEBATE, ULTIMATELY
AROUND A PLAN THAT WILL BE
ABOUT 1050 BY 815, 873,
OCCURRING IN THE BACK YEARS.
IS THAT SOMETHING THAT THE
FOLKS YOU REPRESENT CAN LIVE
WITH?


>> WE WILL LIVE WITH WHATEVER
THE LEGISLATURE PASSES.
I MEAN, THAT'S CERTAINLY --
WE MAY HAVE DISAGREEMENTS AS
WE ARE GOING THROUGH THAT
PROCESS.
I DO THINK THE LEGISLATURE
ENDED UP IN A POSITION, IN A
PLACE, THAT WAS CERTAINLY FAR
BETTER THAN SOME OF THE
PROPOSALS FROM MY SAMPLING,
OUR INDUSTRY, RETAIL IN
GENERAL, EMPLOYS A LOT OF
PART-TIME EMPLOYEES.
I KNOW I HAD MY FIRST JOB
WHEN I WAS 16, WORKING AT THE
LOCAL GROCERY STORE, BAGGING
GROCERIES.
IT WAS -- I DIDN'T HAVE ANY
EXPERIENCE, I DIDN'T HAVE ANY
SKILLS.
I LEARNED A COUNTLESS AND
VALUE -- I LEARNED COUNTLESS
AND INVALUABLE LESSONS DURING
THAT JOB.
I WAS GETTING PAID AT THE
TIME, AND I'M NOT GOING TO
TELL YOU WHAT THE MINIMUM
WAGE WAS, BECAUSE I'LL DATE
MYSELF, I WAS GETTING PAID 9
CENTS MORE THAN WHAT THE
MINIMUM WAGE WAS.
I PROBABLY WASN'T EVEN WORTH
THAT.
THERE WAS THREE DAYS OF
TRAINING AS A BARING, BUT I
LEARNED CUSTOMER SERVICE
SKILLS, I LEARNED
MULTITASKING SKILLS, YOU
KNOW, WHEN THINGS WERE SLOW,
WE WENT OUT TO THE DAIRY
CASE, WERE STOCKING, YOU
KNOW, PUTTING THE EGGS IN AND
THE MILK, AND WHEN IT GOT
BUSY, WE WENT UP FRONT, AND
YOU KNOW, SERVED THE
CUSTOMERS.
SO YOU LEARNED A NUMBER OF
SKILLS DOING THAT.
THERE'S A COST OF DOING THAT.
IF WE ARTIFICIALLY -- WE ALL
WANT MORE MONEY, WE WANT
HIGHER WAGES.
IF IT WAS EASY AS JUST
INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE,
WE CURRENTLY HAVE THE THIRD
HIGHEST IN THE COUNTRY RIGHT
NOW, BEFORE THIS LAW PASSED,
YET OUR AVERAGE WAGES IN
VERMONT ARE 21ST.
SO IF IT WAS AS SIMPLE AS
INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE,
WE'D HAVE THE THIRD HIGHEST
WAGES IN THE COUNTRY.
DOESN'T WORK QUITE THAT WAY.
SO I THINK IN THE END, THE
LEGISLATURE DID ITS BEST TO
COME UP WITH SOME KIND OF
BALANCE THAT WAS PREDICTABLE,
AND WE KNOW WHAT IT IS, AND
OBVIOUSLY, WE WILL WORK TO
MAKE IT HAPPEN.


>> WILL CONSUMERS SEE A PRICE
DIFFERENCE ON THE STORE
SHELVES?


>> HARD TO KNOW.
YOU KNOW, THE RETAIL IN
GENERAL DOES NOT HAVE HIGH
MARGINS, AND AS I SAID
BEFORE, WE HAVE A LOT OF
PART-TIME EMPLOYEES.
SO WHAT WILL THE ESCALATING
EFFECT BE, BECAUSE IF I WAS
EARNING $10 AN HOUR AND I WAS
PART-TIME, YOU KNOW, WORKING
AFTER SCHOOL OR WHATEVER AND
MINIMUM WAGE GOES UP TO $10,
I'M GOING TO EXPECT AN
INCREASE TO KEEP THAT
DIFFERENTIAL.
I DON'T KNOW HOW THE
MARKETPLACE WILL REACT TO
THAT BECAUSE I HAVE MORE
EXPERIENCE THAN THE PERSON
WHO JUST STARTED.
SO IT'S HARD TO KNOW.
LABOR IS THE BIGGEST COST.
DOES THAT MEAN FEWER HOURS?
WE TRY TO FIGURE OUT WAYS TO
BE MORE EFFICIENT, OR DO WE
HAVE TO LOOK AT IT AND SAY I
HAVE TO HAVE A BETTER MARGIN
IN MY MARKET.
TOO EARLY TO KNOW.
THE MARKETPLACE WILL FIGURE
THAT OUT.


>> JIM, WE HAVE TO LEAVE IT
THERE.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.


>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH.


>> AND THANK YOU FOR
WATCHING, EVERYBODY.
WE'LL SEE YOU SOON!
CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY
CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC
WWW.CAPTIONASSOCIATES.COM

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