Niche grocery stores find market in Sheridan

Monday, April 23, 2018

SHERIDAN — Where do you get your food? The answer comes with surprising variety in Sheridan.

Walmart, Albertsons and Ridley’s Family Markets attract the bulk of customers by offering the widest selection of groceries. Smaller grocery stores stay in business because they carve out a niche for customers to purchase unique items that aren’t available elsewhere.

“We try to fill in the cracks where there is a market,” said Melissa Smith, co-owner of Golden Rule Grocers, which mainly sells non-genetically modified, organic and locally-sourced produce.

In Sheridan, the market certainly exists.

According to Statista, an online market research company, there were about 3,400 natural/gourmet stores in 2016 in the United States. That equates to about 1 store for every 94,000 people in the country. In Sheridan, there are three such stores — Golden Rule Grocers, Good Health Market and Health Nut & Wellness Center — equalling about 1 for every 6,000 people. Add in other local options like Sackett’s Market and Sheridan Meat Market, and the town seems to have an unusually high demand for non-chain grocery options.

Why is that? A common refrain mentioned the knowledgeable, personalized customer service offered by niche stores. Each store has less than 10 employees who directly interact with nearly everyone who walks through the front door.

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