The Steak, not the Sizzle

Hello everyone, and welcome to my new online journal. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to share with you my thoughts, ambitions, and (gasp!) an insight or two about how our company’s doing, and what I feel is its role in an ever-expanding food industry. While the prospect of growth and success is exciting to me, as it is to all of us, nevertheless I’m a small businessman at heart. Communicating with and servicing my customers is and always will be my main objective, so I am hopeful that this journal will allow me to do just that. So, as Hiller’s explores this new frontier of customer service, I hope you’ll all take a few minutes and check in with me from time to time, so that we can make this journal a fun and exciting way to communicate.

Before I sign off and put this first entry to bed, however, I’d like to express a thought I have about the role of Hiller’s Markets in the grocery industry. Every year, when I reflect back on the trends and changes I notice in our business, I notice more and more how markets nationwide, from mom-and-pop operations to large mass-market retailers, have scurried to promote the “quality” of their products, spending millions if not billions of dollars to convince shoppers that they sell what is most desirable. So I ask myself: “What exactly is going on? Have these retailers really improved the quality of their products? Have they all of a sudden shifted their focus from a buy-cheap, sell-cheap mentality to one where the quality of the product speaks for itself?”

Every time I think about it, I conclude that no, that is not what they’ve done. What they have done, I think, is refocus their efforts to make their customers believe this is what they’ve done. Using flashy store displays, state-of-the-art computer graphics, and the most researched marketing strategies, these retailers have focused all of their energies, and all of their dollars, at establishing the perception that quality is the name of the game. All they’ve really done, however, is regurgitate the same old thing in a newer more glamorous package. The way I look at it, they’re selling the sizzle, with no concern whatsoever for the quality of the steak.

As discerning shoppers, it’s up to us to see through the smoke and mirrors and find the best quality for ourselves and for our family. It’s up to us to find the steak; let everyone else “ooh” and “aah” about the sizzle. So I say: “Take a closer look!” At Hiller’s, we sell the steak, not the sizzle, because that’s what we think our customers want the most, and that’s what we want most for our own families. Therefore, I encourage you to come and see us, take a closer look, and see what the steak is really all about. We’ll trim it to your liking, of course.

Jim Hiller


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