Making a buyer/seller connection with Natural Provisions Market and DeliJanuary 28, 2015
Kris Miceli is the Produce, Dairy and Cheese Manager as well as the Small Vendor Buyer for Williston's premiere independent natural grocery store. Natural Provisions carries hundreds of local growers and producers, and part of Kris' job is to meet and form relationships with potential partners--it's actually her favorite part of the job.
What does Kris look for in a new partnership?
Consistency, quality, and communication...
"Often, small growers don't understand our size, scale and communication needs," Kris shared. Communication is key when working with a potential buyer. The farmer that clearly communicates when they expect crops to come in, and the amount they can provide will often get the business before those who only reach out when they are overrun with product. The same goes for problems--if there's an issue with a crop, Kris just wants her partners to let her know as soon as possible. "One relatively new grower sent out a list twice a week with what they could provide," Kris shared, "across the board they were exemplary--even their drivers were wonderful and fixed any issue right away."
When Kris works with a new food producer, she often will ask them to do a demo day at the store as a great way to gage their customer's response to a product, but that's not all that matters in the competitive world of specialty foods. Kris recently worked with Vermont Veggie Burger, a food producer working out of the Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick, and while the quality of his product was excellent, that's not what sealed the deal for Kris--it was his extremely eye catching packaging. Without strong packaging, a product is likely to get lost on the freezer shelf.
Next time you stop by Natural Provions be sure to browse their extensive inventory of local products--maybe even pick up a beet or quinoa Vermont Veggie Burger!