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Competition Improves the Breed

Competition improves the brand.

Building, toying with motors and making machines move more efficiently, I was briefly involved in such an illustrious career choice. Rode and wrenched on scooters, where the last memory is still hanging here.

The rallying cry was, “Competition improves the breed,” wherein a single marque was the driving force, some kind of brand loyalty that defies logic.

I was young, and we were all having fun.

Many of my pepper images, and no small amount of my grocery bill goes to the local giant, HEB.

OK, so Whole Foods started in Austin and has since become a megalithic corporate giant of almost absurd proportions. In keeping up with the competition, HEB started a subset called Central Market, which, like a regular HEB grocery store, only, like, organic and stuff. One friend calls the big San Antonio Central Market, “The Gucci Bee,” in deference to the original moniker.

The upstart, Trader Joe’s plopped down in some tony retail space, vacated by an over-priced lawn-furniture place.

I don’t know how Whole Foods is doing, but I suspect this isn’t a big dent in their income. I’ve cruised the new Trader Joe’s just once thus far. Not terribly impressed, but then, valet parking for grocery shopping? Clogged up the corner with way too much traffic?

I understand there is that fierce customer loyalty and as retail place goes, better service than others. We’ll see, if the buzz ever dies down. Doubt it will.

At the aforementioned “Gucci Bee,” though, I found that some competition is good for the consumer. They have, have been offering, a “Mellow Roast” coffee, whole bean, in the can, certified something, organic, or orgasmic, or wheat free, I don’t recall. The can is labeled much like Trader Joe’s, only the brand is “Texas Joe.” Better yet, the price point, it was less than four bucks a can. 12-oz. Whole bean. Texas roasted.

Competition drives us forward.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rhubarb Dec 21, 2012 @ 19:18

    Trader Joe’s may be a startup where you abide, but in these woods it’s been around for decades. Good prices, better than supermarkets, with a mix of regular and chi-chi organic. Whole Foods bought Mrs. Gooch’s and went so upscale that my wallet falls open just walking in the door.

  • Kramer Wetzel Dec 21, 2012 @ 19:40

    The joke on the street in Austin? “Whole Paycheck.”

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