Richard’s Foodporium Thanks Customers with Appreciation Expo
Nov 04, 2013 08:15PM
● By Suzie Harkola
Richard’s Foodporium, previously known as Richard’s Whole Foods, has grown dramatically since its inception in 1979 with its first store on Ringling Boulevard in Sarasota. That store remains a hub of activity, and Richard’s Foodporium now boasts 16 additional natural and specialty venues throughout Florida, with an eighteenth store on the drawing board. Fourteen of those stores are located in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties, and all are locally owned and operated. A 22,000 square foot warehouse in north Sarasota is the central distribution point.
Richard’s is known for its affordable and value-driven pricing, huge bulk selection, and nostalgic, turn-of-the-century décor. The company has won dozens of regional and national awards, including being named “Best Independent Chain Retailer in the Nation” by Vitamin Retailer magazine. John Rorer, Proprietor of this success story, likes to call Richard’s a “convenience store of natural and specialty foods and supplements.”
Rorer is a grateful man. Yes, he’s grateful for the success of his locally-based empire, and quickly shares kudos with team members, distributors and customers. “I decided to host this Expo to thank our customers and to strengthen our brand,” he said in a recent interview with Natural Awakenings. “I also wanted to give something back to the community, and that’s why we selected All Faiths Food Bank as the benefactor of the event. We encourage everyone who comes to bring nonperishable food items that we will personally deliver to the food bank.”
Vendor loyalty is also important to Rorer, and he is pleased that the event has sold out, with a mix of about 50 national suppliers, 10 local booths and six nonprofits filling the exhibit hall. Rorer intends on expanding the venue next year to allow more local participation.
He continued, “I discovered, while shaving one day, a lump under my jaw. Thinking it was a swollen lymph node, I ignored it and went on about my day. A few weeks later, I noticed it was still there, so I made an appointment with my doctor. He advised me to not worry about it for now, but he measured it and suggested I come back in about a month. When I did, the swelling had not gone down, so he scheduled a biopsy. Sure enough: cancer.” Rorer selected the Cancer Treatment Centers of America as the site for surgery and recovery, and after two follow-up visits, he is now cancer-free. “CTCA was a true lifesaver for me. I can’t say enough about the care I received there, and appreciated that they took a naturopathic approach integrated with traditional treatment. I’ve been a believer in supplements and healing naturally all my life, but realized that this was something that needed to be addressed quickly and on many levels.”
The Expo is important to him, as he sees it as a leap into a bigger future for the enterprise. “This is a unique event,” he said. “I’ve never seen a small, independent retailer producing something like this for their customers and the community at large.”
He was quick to acknowledge the work of his marketing director, Kim Rabow, who took the lead on the project, as well as the entire management team. “This was all new to us, so there were a few moments of uncertainty, especially when we were finalizing everything at Robarts while maintaining oversight at our stores,” he said. “But we have a real comfort level with what’s happening and will happen, and we’re very excited.”
As Richard’s Foodporium continues to grow, Roror had this comment about some of his goals for the future: “We’ve maintained a unique niche in the industry, as our stores are intimate and based on building relationships with the neighborhoods where we’re located. We’d like to introduce more private label products, and are always looking for innovations to our business model to stay abreast of the industry and to continually meet – and fulfill – the needs of our changing customer base.”
Learn more about Richard’s Foodporium at RichardsWholeFoods.com. For specific information about the Expo, visit FoodporiumFan.com. For store locations, go to RichardsFoodporium.com.