How To Get Into IGA (Franchise)
Founded in May 1926, IGA is a U.S. brand of grocery stores that operates in more than 30 countries. Unlike the chain store business model, IGA operates as a franchise through stores that are owned separately from the brand. Many of these stores operate in small town markets and belong to families that manage them. It was founded in the United States as the Independent Grocers Alliance in 1926. The headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois.
Since 1926, the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) has been offering member grocery stores the ability to better compete in the marketplace, while at the same time allowing them to stay true to who they are—hometown store owners meeting the needs of their local communities.
IGA has 1,100 stores in the United States and about 6000 stores globally. Its operations are estimated at $37 billion.
The company uses the “Hometown Proud Supermarkets” slogan. Today, many IGA grocery stores are still located in smaller cities and towns throughout the United States.
The stores in the alliance remain independently owned and operated. The alliance oversees several resources shared among the member stores. These include, most visibly, the IGA store brand products and the logistical network that distributes them. The alliance also provides training and assessment programs and an online advertising platform. It regularly coordinates promotional events and charity fundraising events that benefit store communities.
IGA has a way of motivating the stores under it to do better. In an interview with Supermarket News, the CEO John Ross stated that: “There’s always been a scoring system, so if you sign up for IGA, one of the things you get is benchmarking. So they send raters in and they send you a score back on how your store performed and you can use that to improve your store and that’s how we pick our winners every year for best retailer. The best retailers should get rewards, right?”
For a distributor, this is an established store that can get your products to move as fast as possible. With the awesome varieties they offer and the established customer base, it can be easily deduced that there are customers already dedicated to what they sell. However, this is a big retailer and there is a high standard for the products they take and thus, it may not be that easy to push your products in there. This is why networking can be very useful.
On the local sourcing of food products, IGA has been on the forefront of selling locally sourced food products and imported food items. Their wine, spice, and produce selection make them a leader in the retail and grocery business niche. This store has been in the business for years and has its established sourcing angles. Its constant support of local products has helped it cement its brand in the community as people can easily resonate with it.