Skip to main content

Newsroom resources for the news media

Nugget Market displays inside store
In The News

The Best Independent Grocers of 2024

Originally published in: Progressive Grocer

This year's Outstanding Independent Award recipients succeed by tuning into the needs of the community members who shop at their stores.

One key point in common among Progressive Grocer’s class of Outstanding Independents in 2024 — or, frankly, any other year — is their deep connection to the neighborhoods where their stores are located and where, very often, they live as well. This is of course the main differentiator of independent grocers: their ability to anticipate the needs of area shoppers and create a long-lasting bond in a way that larger players, with their extensive demographic research and carefully selected focus groups, can only envy.

Whether that connection is forged through offering local products, providing time-saving services tailored to the regional population or supporting area organizations working to make a difference, indies have a natural advantage when it comes to bonding with customers. The 21 honorees included in the following pages have raised that asset into an art form.

Take the literally indefatigable Rich Hayes, owner of Hayes Market, in Waymart, Pa., who helps his single store stand apart through his marathon charity bicycle rides to raise money for local animal shelters, a cause near and dear to Hayes’ heart. While not everyone possesses Hayes’ sheer physical stamina, many of the grocers that we honored this year are able to make contributions every bit as meaningful. One example is Schnuck Markets, which is able to deploy a Community Kitchen on wheels to provide aid in the wake of disaster.

The fact that many of these businesses are family-owned is significant, as it points to an important reason for their ability to surmount the many challenges of being an independent operator in a grocery industry marked by ever-increasing consolidation: In the main office, the stores and, ultimately, the towns that their operations call home, it’s all about cultivating and nurturing relationships. In that way, these indies create just the kind of warm, inviting atmosphere that keeps associates and shoppers alike from straying. 

Read on to find out more about PG’s 2024 Outstanding Independents.

Nugget Markets

Headquarters: Davis, Calif.

Number of Stores: 16

Nugget Markets is distinguished by its RAVE culture, which stands for Respect, Value, Appreciate Everyone. It starts with hiring associates with a desire to serve and flows through to Nugget’s customers, who are always referred to as guests.

To that end, Nugget staffs knowledgeable associates, known as specialists, in every store department to share their information with guests, providing an exceptional shopping experience. Another unique aspect of its business model is creative and attractive merchandising: The grocer’s beautiful stores highlight unusual or local items, as well as showcasing great deals.

Beyond the walls of those stores, Nugget is a pillar of its communities, donating to local food banks and participating in area events. It also awards scholarships to associates attending school, or to the children of current associates.

Additionally, Nugget employs a sophisticated buying system that enables it to take advantage of best-cost products and procure merchandise in its own warehouse. The retailer networks its own facility with its primary supplier, C&S Wholesale Grocers, to lower delivery costs to each store, allowing Nugget to promote more to its customers. This continual quest to drive costs out of the system enables the grocer to compete better in the markets that it serves.

See the complete list in the original article.

Press Contact

Nugget Market, Inc.