It takes more than simply surviving for a retailer to reach its 60th anniversary – it needs to distinguish itself from its competitors by offering more and giving shoppers the best value for their money. That certainly seems to be the formula followed by Hi-Lo Food Stores, which in its 60 years of existence has grown from a single location into the largest grocery store chain in Trinidad and Tobago. The company has 19 locations throughout the country and employs more than 2,000 people.
Hi-Lo Food Stores opened its first location in 1950, and since that time the company has become known for its efforts to give customers the best products at the best prices, the company says. Its primary goal is “to earn and retain customers’ ranking of being the nation’s favorite retailer by providing the highest quality service, competitive pricing, variety and a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.”
In recent years, Hi-Lo Food Stores has developed programs designed to attract shoppers looking to make the most of their dollars, such as its Smart Shopper rewards program and its “Only at Hi-Lo” promotions. These are in addition to the value the company says it provides to shoppers every day with its pharmacy, bakery, deli and other services. Looking at the effort Hi-Lo Food Stores makes to serve its customers, it’s easy to see that the company is working hard to ensure that it remains Trinidad and Tobago’s favorite grocery store for at least another 60 years.
Although the company has made strides to give customers additional value, the meat and potatoes of its value remains its basic services, such as its bakery, deli and pharmacy departments. “With a presence in the Trinidad and Tobago supermarket industry since June 1, 1950, Hi-Lo prides itself on providing a fulfilling shopping experience for our customers,” it says. “In a continuing effort to create a customer-friendly atmosphere, we offer a range of services in our various locations.”
These services include the stores’ bakery departments, which Hi-Lo Food Stores says concentrate on providing quality. “We bake daily, using only the finest and freshest ingredients,” the company says. “Hi-Lo Food Stores is dedicated to offering our customers a variety of treats that will satisfy any craving. Our bakeries feature different assortments of breads, cookies, pies, cakes and sandwiches.”
Hi-Lo Food Stores boasts the same combination of choice and quality in its deli department. “At Hi-Lo’s deli, we aim to offer our customers not only quality but a wide variety of choice-cut meats,” the company says. “Hi-Lo Food Stores works closely with Hadco, Mac Foods, Erin Farms and Malabar Farms to ensure the highest-quality products.”
Hi-Lo Food Stores added pharmacy services in 2005, and since that time the company has expanded those services to four of its locations. These Just Personal Pharmacy locations allow shoppers to have their prescriptions filled while they shop for groceries. They also provide customers with private pharmaceutical counseling, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol testing.
“Ever since our humble inception back in 2005, we recognize that our customers are deeply important to us, and that is why our focus has been and always will be customer service,” Pharmacy Chain Manager Safiyya Ali-Mohammed said in a statement. “Whenever [customers] come into any of our four convenient locations of Marabella, St. Anns, St. Augustine or Westmoorings, [they] will be guaranteed to be greeted with a smile and courteous staff who are willing to listen to [them] and recommend customized solutions to [their] needs.”
One of Hi-Lo’s most recent efforts to give shoppers more value for their money is the chain’s Smart Shopper program. Customers can apply for a Smart Shopper account and card, which awards them points based on how much they spend on each visit to a Hi-Lo Food Stores location.
Every $10 spent at a Hi-Lo Food Store earns a Smart Shopper participant one point, which can be accumulated and saved to spend on rewards such as vouchers for free groceries at Hi-Lo Food Stores, frequent flier miles from Caribbean Airlines and gift certificates from local retailers. To further encourage customers to sign up for the program, Hi-Lo Food Stores offers them double points for all shopping done on Wednesdays. “This program is exclusive to Hi-Lo customers, and [the] Smart Shopper Customer Card will provide [them] with value-added shopping options and rewards to make shopping at any Hi-Lo store a truly pleasurable experience,” the company says.
In addition to the Smart Shopper program, Hi-Lo Food Stores also offers customers special deals on certain items through two different promotions. The first is the “Only at Hi-Lo” program, which features lower prices on specific items based on arrangements with suppliers. “We have partnered with some of our suppliers and selected special quality items that [customers] will find only at Hi-Lo Food Stores,” the company says.
The other regular promotion Hi-Lo Food Stores offers its customers is its regular “Dollar Stretcher” sales. “We select over 40 products monthly to complement seasonal events that are celebrated nationwide as well as to support Hi-Lo’s promotional calendar,” the organization explains.
“These products are offered for sale at great prices during this period and are communicated daily through in-store Dollar Stretcher flyers, press ads and in-store signage.”
Hi-Lo Food Stores also works to ensure that the people serving its customers are of the highest quality.
“In our continued efforts to enhance and develop our staff, Hi-Lo offers a management trainee program aimed at attracting highly ambitious and talented personnel both externally and internally to become the future managers of Hi-Lo Food Stores nationwide,” the company says.