Store of the Future   //   February 15, 2024

‘We want you to come in every day’: The Goods Mart founder Rachel Krupa on building a convenience store that’s more than a shoppy shop

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The Goods Mart is trying to update the convenience store experience while not falling into the trappings of the so-called shoppy shops.

The store — which first launched in 2018 and currently has three different locations in Manhattan — features a variety of better-for-you snacks like snack bars, coffee and other beverages. The locations are very small. Some are only 400 square feet. The idea is to create a new type of quick-service store that may look updated with startup brands, but services customers’ everyday needs.

“We want to be more accessible,” said Rachel Krupa, founder and CEO of The Goods Mart. “We want you to come in every day and get what you want.”

Krupa joined this week’s Modern Retail Podcast and spoke about the trajectory of the store, as well as its recent focus on business-to-business sales.

Krupa is no stranger to the CPG space. “I’ve been doing PR now over 22 years,” she said. “And a lot of that was in the CPG space — in the better-for-you space.”

In 2018, she decided to try out a different project. People would come into her PR office every day to try different products. It made Krupa realize that there may be demand for a new type of snack store that focused on young and emerging brands. So she got a line of credit, tapped the help of a few friends and colleagues and then launched the first Goods Mart.

But, Krupa admitted, “there was no strategy at launch.” It was simply her testing out whether such a model could work and then iterating from there.

Now, with three locations, The Goods Mart is focusing on a new type of business: B-to-B. The company has begun curating minibars for hotels as well as putting together snack programs for other corporate clients.

While it’s a new revenue stream, Krupa maintains that it remains core to the Goods Mart’s business. “The basis of The Goods Mart is to help build emerging brands and get them in more places and get them in more hands,” she said.

Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.

Helping brands understand brick-and-mortar
“A lot of the brands that fill our store are young and emerging, and so they’re just getting into retail. They’re just getting their feet wet into the traditional method of what that is. So we really help them [figure] out price point [and] where should you place it? I mean, our stores are small, so placement will be different when you go into a larger retailer, but it’s like: Who is your competitive landscape? Where should you go… So we’re really [look] at it from a standpoint of you’re getting your feet wet in retail? Come to us first so that you can work out those kinks because we’re really forgiving with it too.”

How Krupa is approaching B-to-B
“Going back to the basis of The Goods Mart is to help build emerging brands and get them in more places and get them in more hands. And part of that is the stores act like our testing area of customers coming in — what do they like? What don’t they like? What kind of feedback? What’s the price point? Now we’ve amplified more of the hospitality curation side, because it’s incredible just to get more customers in the sense of a landscape of a corporate office. This new brand is in your pantry — here’s more about the information on the founder. Hotel minibars — that is really growing. I think now we have nine, 10 accounts from the hotel minibar curation perspective. We have three or four different corporate pantries. And [we’re] speaking with a lot more of co-working spaces.”

More than a shoppy shop
“You need the layers and level of having right partners. We’re very fortunate that we have really good landlords that believe in what we’re doing and see us as a value add to what they’re trying to curate… with the blocks that they’re on. I do think that there is this level of what people come in for. We have coffee that’s $1.25. It’s a great price. And we want to be more accessible. So we want you to come in every day and get what you want. It’s not the specialty shop that you’re coming to find something that you want to eat. You’re just coming in, because we also have chicken salad from an incredible coffee shop [that you] get with your crackers on an everyday [basis]. And so for us, it’s really how do you curate a Shoppy [Shop] — I’m not a big shoppy shop type of person. But, how do you curate a store that is full of discovery products, but things that people want every day?”