Get Your Product into Associated Supermarkets

Mr. Checkout is a network of independent wagon-jobbers and full-line distributors. We distribute product to over 35,000 independent stores around the country and have built relationships with hundreds of retail buyers. We are always seeking the next hot new product. If you have a product, we want to hear from you!

How To Get Into Associated Supermarkets

Associated foods holding, also known as associated food stores, or associated supermarkets or Associated, is the largest collection of independently operated supermarkets based in the New York metropolitan area. The services of associated supermarkets are offered to range of not less than 250 independent grocery retail stores that was formerly predominantly located in New York City.

Associated supermarket, was founded in1954, and its headquarters is located in Hewlett, New York. Its Executive Chairman, is Robert Striano. Associated supermarket, is one with over 250 retail stores.

The rise of associated food stores, began with the inception of Queens Food Dealers, by founder Sol Chalek, and it started out towards the end of the great depression. Chalek had little or no experience in the field of groceries stores. At the onset, Chalak’s profit was not matching up with the amount of work he was putting into the grocery store. With the knowledge of the fact that large chains, such as Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co, and other larger chains could buy in bulk, and sell at cheaper prices to make more profit, He had the idea to bring together other smaller grocery stores who had the same problem has his store.

Astoria, Queens, New York, was the historic location for the first meeting for the grocers. The Queens Food Dealers was formed there. Sol Chalek was chosen to head the new cooperative body. The idea worked with was that each grocery store would remain owned and managed by the individual grocer, but that the cooperative body would do the buying in bulk on behalf of the grocers. They were then able to enjoy prices at that of wholesalers. Things continued to improve for the grocers, until new chains began to appear in the New York City Area.

During the Second World War, Sol Chalek’s grocery store was sold, and he was made to function solely as the head of Queens Food Dealers. In time warehouse space was insufficient as more retailers joined the group. Mr. Chalek, alongside other officers of the company and the many members of the co-op decided to form a corporation, Associated Food Stores (AFS) and build a warehouse and office complex at 179-45 Brinkerhoff Avenue, in Jamaica, Queens, replete with a loading dock that was served by a stretch of railroad track. They could now receive rail cars full of product and store it in their new, much larger warehouse.

With the growth of Associated Food Stores in the late 1950s and 1960s, it grew increasingly difficult to compete in the New York City environs, and Mr. Chalek hired a CEO away from Hills Supermarkets, a much larger chain, and not a cooperative. His name was Eric Steinberg. It was thought that Mr. Steinberg was going toimprove their financial and managerial state. Rather under his leadership, the company lost over $12 million in the first year.

This spell brought about the end of Associated Supermarkets and partners started to make their ways out of the company.

If you have a product, we want to hear from you!

Mr. Checkout is a national association of independent wagon-jobbers and full-line distributors. We distribute product to approximately 35,000 independent stores around the country and are always seeking the next hot new product. If you have a product, we want to hear from you!

How to get your product into Associated Supermarkets

  1. Understand you client: Before you spend a lot of time and money creating a product, you should know if anyone will want to buy it. Learn more about Market Research
  2. Learn if it’s protectable: Know if you can defend your product against cheap copies if it gets knocked off. Learn more about Copyright and Patent your product
  3. Test your product: Make sure that there’s a demand for your product and the customer understands what you are selling when it’s on the shelf and nobody is there to explain it. Learn more about Product Testing
  4. Perfect your pitch: Before you speak to decision makers, know your numbers, know your retailer and know your logistics in and out. Learn more about Pitching Your Product
  5. Don’t do it alone: If you haven’t been successful in retail before, a secret of success is that you can’t do it alone. Having great sales staff, customer support and marketing partners can take you from zero to success faster than if you tried on your own. Learn more about Retail Partnerships

Contact Associated Supermarkets Buyer

Do not trust any “list” of buyers.

Typically retail buyers change either companies or positions every few years. This strategy helps retailers know that their buyers are not taking “kick-backs” and are selecting the very best product for the very best position each time.

Buyers are typically held to a very rigorous standard of sell-through volume that they must hit and because of this they are risk averse. Your job as a supplier or vendor is to convince them that the buyers going into the stores not only know about what you’re selling but are actively seeking the product in the store currently.

  • Step 1

    Contact Associated Supermarkets Buyer

    Sometimes easier said than done, however you must get on Associated Supermarkets’s radar.

    Call the Associated Supermarkets’s corporate phone number and ask for the names of the buyer and assistant buyers in your category.

    Always leave voicemail with whomever the dispatch will connect you.

    Use that information to connect with them on LinkedIn, RangeMe and any other professional social platform.

    Ask your representative at your trade bureau to connect you to the Associated Supermarkets buyers as they will potentially have a better history.

  • Step 2

    Get On Associated Supermarkets’s Radar

    Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Associated Supermarkets’s buyer through 3rd party websites & industry media sources.

    Be everywhere that they look, the key is to position your brand as the obvious choice when Associated Supermarkets is looking to either refill a slot or create a new category.

    Latch on to the news of the day and any trend that will make your product fill that niche whether that be Non-GMO or Vegan Leather for example.

    Investing in your brand can only benefit your opportunities in the future. As being “top of mind” will have a ripple effect when you physically present your product at a Associated Supermarkets buyers meeting or trade show in the future.

    Step 2

  • Step 3

    Use Hard Facts

    Associated Supermarkets buyers typically got to their position by picking “winners” and know how to see through the fluff.

    Focus on the numbers, know your bottom dollar during a negotiation and how fees and chargebacks may cut into your position.

    Know that long term success may outweigh short term sales, however financing large purchase orders from Associated Supermarkets when the net result is negative is not sustainable.

    Understand the playing field and the other brands that are in your space, what they are offering as promotion and pricing and how you can stand out against them.

    By knowing that each buyer at Associated Supermarkets probably knows more than you do, take an active listening approach to sales and understand that no is a perfectly acceptable answer that may have saved you millions of dollars on the backend.

How to Submit a Product to Associated Supermarkets

There are several ways to get a product placed in Associated Supermarkets. However, most entrepreneurs only dream about getting their product distributed to major retailers, few actually do it. We have experienced a significant rise in interest since the show Shark Tank started airing on NBC. Mr. Checkout has had the pleasure of working with a few Shark Tank success stories such as KISStixx and 180 Party Cups which are now currently being distributed around the country to stores like Walmart, Target, Kroger, 7-Eleven and more.

If you envision your product would be a good fit for Associated Supermarkets, we have a few steps to help you get your product on their shelves.

Here are the 6 steps you need to take to have your product placed in Associated Supermarkets.

1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Associated Supermarkets, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions. Do you need to build demand for your product, or is there already a demand for it? Do you know that Associated Supermarkets would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Associated Supermarkets, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Associated Supermarkets, or do you want to license your product to a manufacturer that will handle distribution?

2. Be prepared to profit.) Does your product offer enough of a profit margin for Associated Supermarkets? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Associated Supermarkets’s guidelines for other fees that you will have to build into the cost of your product in order for you to be able to turn enough of a profit to make the effort worth your while. If you work with a discount retailer, they will try to strip your profits down to zero in order to keep their prices as low as possible.

The typical breakdown of margins are: If a products costs $1 to produce, that product will retail for $4. That product that retails for $4 will wholesale for $2 to distributors and stores that purchase direct. Big box retailers like Associated Supermarkets may offer to pay $1.25 to the manufacturer if the product costs $1 to produce. That is the typical profit margin.

3. Determine if Associated Supermarkets is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Associated Supermarkets starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Associated Supermarkets already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Associated Supermarkets to see what kind of products they are selling, speak to the manager and see if he thinks your product will sell well in their store. Picture in which zone your product would best fit on the shelf and keep in mind that the most precious asset that these big box stores value are their shelf space. Keep this information in mind when you are preparing your presentation to Associated Supermarkets.

If your company is minority or women owned, check Associated Supermarkets’s website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.

4. Pitch your product to Associated Supermarkets.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Associated Supermarkets. Your presentation depends heavily on your strengths as a businessperson as they will most likely ask financial questions and logistics questions.

It’s common for companies to hire a broker to pitch their product to Associated Supermarkets, as it will be more likely that your product will make it to the next stage if the individual pitching your product has industry knowledge or a personal relationship with Associated Supermarkets. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to Associated Supermarkets.

We at Mr. Checkout have experience dealing with brokers and know that there are several retail brokers that have poor business practices that can potentially damage your brand. If you are seeking a legitimate Associated Supermarkets broker, please give us a call for a recommendation. It could save you a huge headache and a lot of money.

5. Complete the required Associated Supermarkets paperwork.) Often Associated Supermarkets will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Associated Supermarkets, you should contact a buyer at Associated Supermarkets and let them know your intentions. Having a contact inside of the company will potentially move your application more smoothly through the process.

6. Anticipate the need for increased volume.) Having Associated Supermarkets agree to stock your product will most likely mean a significant increase in volume. You should be prepared to ramp up your production and informing your manufacturer of this opportunity.

Having production, logistics and distribution to sync is not only difficult, it requires a significant amount of time invested in customer relations. Also, Associated Supermarkets may have stipulations in the contract that may penalize you for delays in shipping and production. Have an attorney explain all contracts to you if you don’t understand the terms.

If you’re looking to sell your product to Associated Supermarkets, be sure to thoroughly assess the marketplace, carefully prepare for production growth, and take full advantage of resources available to help you grow your business.

Submit Your Product Now

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