Renfroe’s Market distinguishes itself in tight grocery field

Renfroe’s Market distinguishes itself in tight grocery field
Renfroe's owner/operators Rob and Robert Renfroe are shown here in the craft beer section of their store at Chantilly Corners in Montgomery. “We have more than 150 craft beers in cans and on draft in the store,” said Rob. “You are not going to find that kind of selection many places.” (Bryan Carter/Alabama Retail Association)

In the third quarter of this year, a 40,000-square-foot grocery store will open in Phenix City. It will be the fourth store bearing the Renfroe family name.

“We’ve established a brand, so people know they can go to any of our stores and get the same customer service, same pricing and same overall experience that is second to none,” said Rob Renfroe, vice president of Renfroe’s Market.

Robert Renfroe, Rob’s dad, bought the family’s first grocery store in 1996 after almost three decades in the wholesale side of the grocery industry. The family still owns that midtown Montgomery store, which operated under the Super Foods banner. By 2006, Rob came on board and set out to help his dad expand the family business. In 2008, they took over ownership and operations of a Foodland store in Dadeville.

Those two stores continued to operate under their already established names. In October 2014, the family opened a second Montgomery store, this time naming it Renfroe’s Foodland.

“We had three different names on our stores: McGehee Road Superfoods, Dadeville Foodland and Renfroe’s Foodland at Chantilly Corners. We decided for marketing purposes to change all of those to Renfroe’s Market in the summer of 2016,” Rob said.

Rebranding as Renfroe’s Market has paid off for the family business, which The Daily Meal, a culinary website, chose as the Best Grocery Store in Alabama for 2018. Last year, the Renfroe’s Market team also was named the Gold Alabama Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales More Than $20 Million category.

The business continues to grow with the opening of its Phenix City store off U.S. 431 near the intersection of Alabama 165 in a brand-new shopping center, The Village at Crosswinds. “The Phenix City Renfroe’s Market will be similar to the Chantilly and the Dadeville stores,” Robert said.

Local stores, local products

Renfroe’s Market is known for carrying a large selection of Alabama products and craft beers. “We place a great emphasis on carrying and promoting local products as we are a local, family-owned company,” Rob said. “It gives our customers the opportunity to purchase products that they will not be able to find anywhere else.”

Its localness is what sets Renfroe’s apart from the mega-grocery chains, he said. The Renfroe’s Market team can “be in our communities, know what our customers want, speak with customers directly and carry the items that they are looking for,” the second-generation grocer said.

Customer service, employees key

“My dad has always put an emphasis on customer service, on having a manager on the front end to greet people when they come in and to say, ‘Thank you,’ when they are leaving,” Rob said. “That resonates most with me – making sure people know we appreciate them shopping with us.”

To compete even more on customer service, Renfroe’s launched an e-commerce platform at two of its stores in 2018, which allows customers to shop online, come to the store at a specific time, park in a designated “Renfroe’s To Go” parking space and have their online order delivered to their car. “We see this as a vital piece of the grocery industry moving forward,” Rob said.

With the addition of the Phenix City location, the Renfroe’s Market stores will employ close to 300 team members. “We cannot accomplish what we do without our employees,” said Robert. “Our employees’ dedication to customer service is a significant reason why our customers shop with us. Without them, we simply do not have a business.”

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