Every time we decide to open a new Hiller’s we take a mighty leap of faith. I suppose from a distance it appears to be an uncomplicated act of merely replicating the past. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The decision of where to locate a new store can take months, even years. It takes into account current residences and forecasts of future rooftops within a 4 mile radius. A grocery cannot succeed in a vacuum . We must have lots of houses nearby. The balancing act is that we seek an area that is in a growth phase and not its dotage because families with kids make the best customers. They tend to eat at home often instead of going to restaurants .
Once we’ve chosen the site or at least the area, next comes the decision of the size of the store. In the years I’ve been in the grocery business the so-called ideal size has gone from about 18,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet and now many believe to as much as 125,000 square feet. From where I sit a full-service grocery should be around 45,0000 or 50,000 square feet. Our newest location in South Lyon is 53,000 square feet. We plumped up a bit to add a demo kitchen and wine and beer bar.
Once we’ve made the decisions of location and size the real fun starts. We begin the design of the store layout. This amounts to hundreds of small choices that are made by an arm wrestle between our design and operations team on one side and our financial group on the other. The justification for and price of each refrigerated case, shelf and accoutrement must be argued and decided . After all..small businesses like ours don’t have the money in the bank to build a store. We must borrow it from a bank and sadly they expect us to pay it back and not consider it a gift. Once we’ve put our design and our specifications on paper we begin the process of negotiating with banks to find one who is willing to provide the financing for our leap of faith.
From the inception to the store opening can easily take 3 or 4 years. During that time, like a small boat in a storm, we are buffeted by the economy, differing food trends, vagaries of consumer preference and even changes in the financial markets.
At long last, we open the doors of a new Hiller’s with fingers crossed for luck and with the full knowledge that for our leap of faith to succeed we must do our very best every day to give our customers the quality, service and shopping experience they desire.
Our newest location at 10-Mile Road and Johns Road in South Lyon took almost 5 years to complete. I welcome your review of our latest leap of faith