News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, November 14, 2019
IEC stores make switch to new supplier

The best yet

Best Yet is the food club brand offered by C&S Wholesalers, the new supplier to Burnt Cove Market and The Galley.

Photo by Monique Labbe Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Monique Labbe

Patrons of Burnt Cove Market in Stonington and The Galley in Deer Isle will soon see new, and more, products on the shelves, as both stores have switched wholesale suppliers.

“[The former supplier] just wasn’t working for us anymore,” said Les Weed, who operates the stores along with other Island Employee Cooperative members. “It was frustrating for customers because several of the products they wanted, we couldn’t get for them, and our supplier wasn’t really able to work with us to get them.”

The company recently switched to C&S Wholesalers, which uses the food club brand Best Yet (similar to Taste of Inspirations at other grocery stores). The brand provides more options across the board, said IEC member Ben Pitts, from 15 different types of ice cream to almost eight different flavors of potato chips.

“It’s really exciting,” said Pitts. “I’ve worked here for a long time and I think this might be one of the most exciting things that’s happened for us.”

Switching to C&S Wholesalers opens up more doors for bigger products such as UTZ potato chips, additions to the prepared food section, specialty food items and sodas, and will also allow for an expansion to the deli, according to Weed. It also will allow customers more options for things such as gluten free products, at affordable prices, something Pitts said was a struggle with the former supplier.

“Our prices kept going up, which meant that prices in the store kept going up, and it wasn’t cost effective for us or our customers,” said Pitts. “The price point will be much better now. While customers might not see much of a change on the price of everyday items, we’ll be able to offer more sales on more things, and offer those sales regularly.”

“This should be a win-win for everybody, which is what you want,” added Weed. “A grocery store is only as good as the product you are able to provide your customers. We want to keep people shopping on the island, we want them to walk in and be able to get the items they want, and if it’s not in the store, we want to at least have the option of possibly getting it for them the next time they come in.”

A complete roll out of the new products will happen over the course of a few weeks. The biggest changes have happened at The Galley, as new products have already been added there. Weed said after a few months of working the kinks out and having new product on the shelf, the company will hold a grand reopening. That would probably take place early spring, said Weed.

“We’re doing this for the right reasons,” he said. “People have come in and asked us if we were closing or struggling. If we wouldn’t have made the change, that very well could’ve been the case down the road. But we’re doing this for the customers, not because we have to. It’s our job to do what is best for them.”