Nice N Easy Grocery Gambit

Retailer developing prototype to bring more food to underserved regions

CANASTOTA, N.Y. -- Because of the recession and concerns over obesity and nutrition, many food sellers are shifting their focus to eliminating "food deserts" from the retail landscape. One such company making moves in that direction, convenience retailer Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, has plans to help bring groceries to underserved regions of Upstate New York, reported The Post-Standard.

As it grows its convenience stores--on the drawing board for the 80-store chain are stores for Onondaga Hill, Brewerton (a replacement store) and Lakeport--Nice N Easy is looking [image-nocss] at a newer prototype, said the report.

"It would have more groceries, to fill the void left in towns that lost their Big M's and other smaller supermarkets," Nice N Easy vice president Matthew Paduana told the newspaper. "We have to figure out how to go to that next level.

To facilitate that process, Canastota, N.Y.-based Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes' captains and crew converged last week on the Syracuse, N.Y., area, bringing dozens of store managers and food and product vendors together under one roof for its annual corporate trade show and "shopping trip."

The company's trade show featured 100 vendors who set up booths that allow them to show off and sample products--from soda and beer to sandwiches, pizza and cookies--to Nice N Easy franchise owners and store managers.

The franchisees and store managers have budgets that allow them to stock their stores to their communities' needs and wants and not just creating boilerplate Nice N Easy shops, said the report.

Last year, First Lady Michelle Obama launched "Let's Move," a public awareness campaign focused on obesity and food deserts and critical of c-stores' fresh food offerings. The initiative included $400 million in tax credits and other incentives "to get grocery stores to move into 'food desert communities' where people don't have access to major grocery stores and have to rely on corner markets, convenience stores and hybrid gas stations that may charge more and have fewer healthful choices. It will also get fresh foods into smaller stores."

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