Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why We're not there! Or .... can't afford the real estate.

     Many of our devoted customers call and ask why we're not in more supermarkets, chain stores, etc.
The answer:  We are a relatively small company which creates products in small batches using high quality ingredients and California garlic.  What many people aren't aware of is that the grocery store industry is not in the business of selling only groceries; they are also in the business of selling real estate; that is, space on their shelves. These are called "slotting allowances".  What is the result of this practice?  There are many small companies out there that produce extremely high quality food products but can't afford to occupy the shelves of supermarkets because the extremely high price of getting there is prohibitive.
     Small companies find themselves in the situation of competing with the "big boys" such as Schilling,
General Mills, Johnson and Johnson, and Anheuser Busch for shelf space. These companies can afford the thousands of dollars (per product) required to pay for that shelf space. Basically, shelf space and placement go to the highest bidder. In addition, market chains require advertising dollars, free cases of product and often other perks from their suppliers.  Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, small,  privately held companies such as Garlic Festival Foods can't afford the enormous costs of going mainstream and that is the reason so many small companies don't make it.  Most of the companies that started in business at the same time as we did are no longer in business or have sold out.
     We have been in business for 26 years (one of the survivors) and early on I realized that we would have to find an alternative way to get our products to you, the consumers. Luckily, I stumbled onto a rare, at that time, method of marketing our products; selling directly to you at events such as holiday gift events, Home and Garden Shows, Craft Fairs and other "direct to the consumer" venues.  Also, there are specialty shops, butcher shops, delicatessens, fruit stands, tourist shops and independent small groceries that don't have the exorbitant financial requirements of occupying their shelves.
     The practice of slotting allowances deprives all of us of having access to many very fine, and sometimes superior, food items. Sometimes the best of the best never make to your grocery store's shelves. Ironically, this is why, sometimes, you find great products at dollar stores and discount stores. The producer simply couldn't make it or compete and finally went out of business and sold off their stock at pennies on the dollar to liquidators or discounters.  Sad, but true!
     However, in recent years, with the advent of the internet, small companies have had a fighting chance. We're able to reach all of you, our valued customers, and you're able to find us. So, THANK YOU!  You're what keeps us going. So, spread the word and the taste!  Garli Garni forever !!!

PS: If you know of a specialty store that you would like to carry our products, please let us know; or.... ask them to put us on their shelves. "Variety is the spice of life".

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