Get Your Product into Balducci’s

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 Balducci’s

The supermarket business in the United States is one that tries to connect with the individual customer. This means, the supermarkets try to address the needs and interests of individual customers. This is by offering local, international, and metropolitan products. You can get spices, meat, wine, food, and so many other food products from this type of store.

Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market is a specialty gourmet food retailer in the United States with six grocery stores. The company headquarters is located in Germantown, Maryland. Balducci’s Food Lover’s was founded in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. 1916. The founders were Louis Balducci, Maria Balducci, Its current Chief Executive Officer is Judy Spires, and it provides its services for the areas of Connecticut, New York Maryland, and Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Kings Super Markets.

Louise Bladucci born in Bari, Italy was an immigrant who moved into the New York, in the early 1900s, andbegan his family’s career in the New York City food trade by selling fruits and vegetables from a pushcart in Greenpoint, Brooklyn between 1914 and 1925.The family returned to Italy in 1925, returned to the United States in 1939 and in 1946 Louis and his wife Maria opened a fruit stand at the corner of Christopher Street and Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich Village. In 1972, they moved across Sixth Avenue into a storefront at Sixth and West 9th St.

From that site on Sixth Avenue, Balducci’s is credited to have been the very first grocery store in New York City to make available premium quality foods alongside a butcher, fishmonger, delicatessen and greengrocer all in the same store. This model became a model for specialty markets all over the city.

When the store got moved to Sixth Avenue, Its ownership had been passed to two of Louis and Maria’s Children, Andy and his wife Nina, and Grace and her husband, Joe Doria. The third child of the Balducci’s, Charles, was a physician; but his son, Louis B., was quite active in the management of the store. There was news that the three siblings had a dispute with their father Louis, and this dispute, was apparently responsible for the departure of Grace and Joe in 1985. In 1985, Grace and Joe started a new store, Grace’s Marketplace on the Upper East Side. Louis b. on the other hand left his grandfather in the late 1980s, and became partner at Agata& Valentina, another specialty grocer on Upper East Side.

In 1999, the store was sold for 26.5 million, when it became apparent that the daughters of Andy and Nina were not interested in continuing the family business. Balducci was acquired by Sutton Place Gourmet, a Maryland-based company. The sales the combination of both companies made within a fiscal year from then on, was above $130 million per year.

The pioneer store located on Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village closed in January 2003. A branch store on West 66thStreet, remained open.

In November 2003, the company was purchased by an investment group led by Bear Stearns Merchant Banking.

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 Balducci’s

  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 Balducci’s 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 Balducci’s Buyer

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

    Call the Balducci’s’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 Balducci’s buyers as they will potentially have a better history.

  • Step 2

    Get On Balduccis’ Radar

    Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Balducci’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 Balducci’s 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 Balducci’s buyers meeting or trade show in the future.

    Step 2

  • Step 3

    Use Hard Facts

    Balducci’s 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 Balducci’s 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 Balducci’s 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 Balducci’s

There are several ways to get a product placed in Balducci’s. 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 Balducci’s, 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 Balducci’s.

1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Balducci’s, 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 Balducci’s would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Balducci’s, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Balducci’s, 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 Balducci’s? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Balducci’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 Balducci’s 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 Balducci’s is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Balducci’s starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Balducci’s already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Balducci’s 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 Balducci’s.

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

4. Pitch your product to Balducci’s.) Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Balducci’s. 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 Balducci’s, 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 Balducci’s. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to Balducci’s.

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 Balducci’s 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 Balducci’s paperwork.) Often Balducci’s will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Balducci’s, you should contact a buyer at Balducci’s 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 Balducci’s 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, Balducci’s 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 Balducci’s, 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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