Grocery Outlet's RJ Sheedy Discusses Going Public, Future Expansion, and More
EMERYVILLE, CA - Even though we’re still in the thick of it, 2019 is definitely Grocery Outlet’s year. After first announcing its plans to go public back in March, the retailer officially filed with the SEC in May to raise up to $100 million in an IPO—a goal the grocer has already surpassed, taking the newswire by storm in the process with stories of its successful IPO launch that some sources are estimating will raise $378 million.
When I sat down to chat with Grocery Outlet’s President, RJ Sheedy, however, you never would have guessed this month has been nothing short of fantastic. Instead, it was clear that RJ and his team are hard set on continuing this momentum and working tirelessly to uphold the mission and values that have been ingrained in the company since its inception in 1946.
“We’ve definitely been celebrating this milestone as a team these past couple of weeks. As we continue forward, we’re focused on executing what we do best, what resonates with our consumers, and what will continue to make us unique in the retail sector,” RJ shared with me. “We’re also focused on prepping for more long-term growth, which includes emphasizing the value we offer shoppers as a small box, independently operated, high touch, friendly, extreme value-added retailer.”
One way Grocery Outlet is emphasizing its value is by expanding its brick-and-mortar presence into as many markets as possible. This also includes carrying its company culture to new markets and introducing a burgeoning team to its core values: family, trust, integrity, collaboration, and community.
“We will continue to focus on our culture as we continue to grow in existing markets and invest in our infrastructure. Our model—which includes operating stores in all kinds of different market types and offering value on high-quality branded items—has worked well for us,” RJ noted. “We have a lot of runway for growth in existing markets and plenty of potential to grow beyond that as well.”
Another key part of Grocery Outlet’s value is the shopping experience it offers. After speaking with RJ, I would describe this experience as firmly rooted in a one-two punch of “love at first sight” and “self-discovery,” while RJ described it as a treasure hunt.
“Shopping at Grocery Outlet is a loud experience, a treasure hunt shopping experience, which is pretty unique. Shoppers never know what they’re going to find—other than, of course, great value,” RJ explained. “Customers especially love our growing NOSH category: Natural, Organic, Specialty, and Healthy. Our customers have a strong orientation toward value, and as a company, we’ll continue to seek out value and points of differentiation in our format to keep positioning ourselves well for the future.”
And the produce aisle is definitely a key part of Grocery Outlet’s point of differentiation and a main focus as the retailer continues to grow.
“We love produce, and our customers love produce. We have great partnerships with the produce industry that we’re proud of and that will help grow our produce aisles as a result. I think customers enjoy shopping in our produce aisles because they love the quality and value we provide,” RJ said. “And that treasure hunt shopping experience exists in the produce aisle as well.”
With a half a year still left in 2019, how else will Grocery Outlet dominate the retail sector?AndNowUKnow will continue to report on the latest and greatest.