GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – With numerous grocery stores in the Valley closing down, Rulli Brothers, which has been in business for 99 years, knows the secret to staying open.
“Operating a grocery store is very difficult. The average profit margin is only one percent,” said Joe Ewig, spokesperson for the Ohio Grocers Association.
The Ohio Grocers Association says there are many barriers store owners face, including costs to run the business, construction and paid employees.
“Unfortunately, a lot of us small independents, we’re up against a lot of foes – the big huge box stores, the chain stores and, unfortunately, now you’re up against the Dollar Generals,” Rulli said. “We have competition at every turn, at every street corner, whether it’s a drug store that’s selling a fruit basket or the dollar store, where they are buying detergent from.”
He says it’s all about the numbers because a customer is going to choose the store with the cheaper prices.
“You have to be so competitive. You have to bring your gross to the highest volume you can possibly maintain and you have to keep your net very, very low.”
One thing that separates a family-owned business from a chain store is that small business owners are more accessible. Rulli has a close relationship with both his customers and employees.
He says that, at this point, Rulli Brothers has no plans to take over the Girard IGA. He wishes the best of luck to whoever moves in.