Thursday, Apr. 16, 2009

The Grocery-Store-Outlet Owner

Steve Mullen, 50, Seattle

We get the Kellogg's cereal with Michael Phelps' picture. It might be $2 here for a box that would cost you $4 at Safeway. The gourmet crackers that are $3.99 at Trader Joe's are 50 cents here. I had to have a professional floor guy come out — the guy who does Key Arena — because we're running into issues with the floor. The sealant is actually coming apart because we're getting so much traffic. More people are coming, and those who come are buying more. It's like a treasure hunt. The people who are accustomed to shopping here know it's not going to be here tomorrow.

It's amazing the stuff that's coming down the pike now. We're selling more wine; we're selling more organic food; we're selling more produce, more fresh things. Maybe these people who were eating at restaurants are cooking more meals at home. The awareness of people that I'm seeing is really keyed into value, where it wasn't before. It seemed like we were going through a period where people would see something and think, "Oh, that's a good deal," and then keep walking. Now it stops them. It's more important to them somehow. And I don't know how much of that is real or necessary and how much is because of the mood.

See which businesses are bucking the recession.