Dr. G in the News

As an industry expert Dr. George's insights and opinions are frequently sought...

Is Philly soda tax solely to blame for closing of West Philly ShopRite? Laura McCrystal, Philly.com, January 17, 2019

January 24 2019 No Commented
  • “To blame the sugar [and sweetened beverages] tax alone might be inappropriate, but to say it’s not related might also be inappropriate,” said Richard George, a professor emeritus of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University.
  • An Aldi store opened on City Avenue less than two miles away from the Shoprite in December 2015 — one year before the beverage tax went into effect.
  • “We always refer to Aldi as kind of a silent killer,” George said of the no-frills grocery chain.
  • Days after Brown announced that he would close the West Philadelphia ShopRite, Acme announced that its Gladwyne store would shut down in February.
  • The two stores have similarities; both are smaller and more outdated than other supermarkets in the area. But they also have differences; the Acme did not have to deal with the city’s beverage tax, but is in a more affluent neighborhood and has had to compete with more upscale stores such as Whole Foods.
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“From boomers to millennials, people aren’t eating out as much” Erik Sherman, NBCNews.com, October 16, 2018

October 17 2018 No Commented
  • “If you go to a restaurant, you’ve got to get showered and dressed, you’ve got to get the kids in the car.”
  • “Then you have a gratuity on top. People say, I just want to stay home.”
  • “That’s why fast casual dining like Chipotle or Smashburger are growing five times as fast as the restaurant industry in general.”
  • “Though what counts as home cooking has also changed. Dinner can be a precooked rotisserie chicken. They buy potato salad and make a salad.”
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“Grocers step up their game with flagship locations” Jessica Dumont, Food Dive, Sept. 17, 2018

September 30 2018 No Commented
  • “For a long time, most supermarket operators focused on price and product, but today’s
    consumer is looking for more.”
  • “…while everyone is talking about omnichannel and online efforts, most research suggests people still go into grocery stores. In fact, recent statistics show that while online shopping is increasing, just 30% of shoppers regularly purchase online.”
  • “Grocers realize today that the in-store experience will be the key difference here.”
  • “What’s going to cause me to drive to one supermarket over the other?”
  • “Customization is a key factor to win consumers over and, ultimately, it is time for retailers to step up their game. Flagship stores are one way to do that.”
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“Lady Business: Who gets to go to Wawa?” Maria Aspan, Inc., May 24, 2018

June 2 2018 No Commented
  • “…the stereotypical convenience store is highway-and-gas-station-adjacent, full of crappy food and cigarettes, populated by shady characters and long-haul truckers. It’s not a place where a lot of people feel comfortable.”
  • Traditionally, “women didn’t feel comfortable in that environment.”
  • “Wawa was one of the leaders of making their stores comfortable for people in all environments.”
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“Why Comedians, Fancy Chefs, and Philadelphia Rappers All Swear by Wawa” Maria Aspan, Inc., May 31, 2018

June 2 2018 No Commented
  • “I’m there all the time. I go to the Wawa in Avalon, they recognize you,” says Richard J. George, a professor emeritus of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University, who once consulted for Wawa and wrote the introduction to former CEO Howard Stoeckel’s 2014 book, The Wawa Way.
  • “I love the company,” adds George, expressing an opinion clearly shared by many. “I think they’re doing a lot of things right.”


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“Before Wawa, there was Heritage’s Dairy Stores in South Jersey” Melanie Burney, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 26, 2017

November 29 2017 No Commented
  • According to family legend, Skeeter Jr. made a handshake agreement with Grahame Wood, founder of Wawa Inc., in the 1960s, and Wawa employees were sent to work at Heritage’s stores to learn the business when Wood added stores to the family’s milk business. For years, Wawa didn’t open any stores in direct competition with Heritage’s, but that changed after Wood’s death in 1982, Skeeter III said.
  • A Wawa spokeswoman couldn’t confirm the anecdote, but Richard J. George, a food marketing professor at St. Joseph’s University, said it would seem likely that Wood would seek to replicate the Heritage business model.
  • “Good artists copy; great artists steal [ideas]. I think that’s what happened here,” George said.
  • “Even though they don’t have the scale of Wawa, they have a niche,” George said. “Heritage will continue to survive and do well.”
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“Checkout Our Fine Dining” Richard Turcsik, Grocery Headquarters, September 2017 (Cover Story)

September 11 2017 No Commented
  • “Supermarkets can get shoppers to come in even more frequently than 10 times a month if they offer an onsite restaurant featuring good food at popular prices.”
  • “The supermarket industry is used to people coming in once or twice a week to stock up,…but with a restaurant, you can get the shopper to come in at least once a day, or even a couple of times a day. The secret is, to have a successful restaurant and make the most use of the space, you have to offer breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
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“Walmart’s World” Richard Turcsik, Grocery Headquarters, May 1, 2017 (Cover Story)

May 15 2017 No Commented
  • “Walmart has gone back and is now looking at their vendors more as partners, which I think is a good thing.”
  • “Walmart has the capability, resources and the know-how with Jet.com to be the first really pure omnichannel retailer.”
  • “Walmart has the ability for people to go online, click-and-collect and buy lots of high-margin items. Everybody has struggled with this, but Walmart can force Amazon to have to get into the big box business, and if they do that, Walmart should win.”
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“Walmart May Win The Store Pickup Battle, But Not The War With Amazon” George Anderson, Forbes.com, April 19, 2017

April 26 2017 No Commented
  • “The program drives customers to the store with the opportunity for incremental/impulse higher-margin items. This takes advantage of Amazon’s current lack of brick-and-mortar alternatives. The key will be the ease of in-store pickup at Walmart.”
  • “Amazon’s lead is still daunting, especially with more brick-and-mortar concepts on the way from the e-tail titan.”
  • “Amazon will probably test something similar to Walmart’s pickup discounts in the stores it develops.  Also, I envision Amazon offering something comparable to other large specialty retailers.”
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“Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club: Why Millennials Love Clubbing” Jeff Wells, Food Dive, February 22, 2017 (Feature)

April 16 2017 No Commented
  • “As club stores and many other retailers are discovering, the term “millennial” covers a wide age range that can make uniform markers misleading. Those at the younger end of the spectrum, aged 18 to 25, are more likely to be urban dwellers living in apartments. They also are more likely to rely on mass transit and other means for transportation — “the Lyft and Uber generation.”
  • “Club stores typically don’t resonate with these younger millennials. Not only are the products too big and the typically suburban locations too difficult for them to access, he said, but these shoppers are also less likely to see the value in paying for 48 rolls of toilet paper at once.”
  • “Club stores are seeing significant gains with older millennials, those aged 30 to 36. These consumers typically have more disposable income, have bought or are looking to buy a home, and are more likely to have young children.”
  • “These are what I call the true millennials. These are the folks that are forming households. They’re more likely to have a garage, an attic, a pantry where they can store all the things they buy. This is the sweet spot for club stores.”
  • “Product sampling, particularly when new, flavor-forward foods and beverages are available to try, is a hit with younger shoppers. Costco is a leader here, and its lively and ever-changing merchandise mix is a differentiator. Costco really reinforces the experience beyond price savings. They really make it a treasure hunt.”
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