2015 Top 50 Small Chains and Independents.

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    1. Fareway Stores 2015
    2. Inserra Supermarkets 2015
    3. Marsh Supermarkets 2015
    4. Northgate Gonzalez Market 2015
    5. Lowe’s Market 2015
    6. PAQ 2015
    7. Rouses Enterprises 2015
    8. Vallarta Supermarkets 2015
    9. Cardenas Markets 2015
    10. Redner’s Warehouse Markets 2015
    11. Festival Foods 2015
    12. Fairway Market 2015
    13. Jerry’s Enterprises 2015
    14. King Kullen Grocery Co. 2015
    15. Niemann Foods 2015
    16. Homeland Stores 2015
    17. Harps Food Stores 2015
    18. Foodland Super Market 2015
    19. Dierbergs Markets 2015
    20. Lund Food Holdings 2015
    21. Lewis Food Town 2015
    22. Cosentino’s Food Stores 2015
    23. Glass Gardens 2015
    24. Roche Bros. Supermarkets 2015
    25. Kings Food Markets 2015
    26. Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage 2015
    27. Heinen’s 2015
    28. Martin’s Super Markets 2015
    29. Gelson’s Markets 2015
    30. All American Quality Foods 2015
    31. Ball’s Food Stores 2015
    32. Reasor’s 2015
    33. Sedano’s 2015
    34. Harmons 2015
    35. Brown’s Super Stores 2015
    36. Pyramid Foods 2015
    37. Perlmart 2015
    38. Fred W. Albrecht Grocery Co. 2015
    39. Haggen Inc. 2015
    40. Good Food Holdings 2015
    41. Miner’s 2015
    42. RoNetco 2015
    43. Stew Leonard’s 2015
    44. Earth Fare 2015
    45. B&R Stores 2015
    46. Tawa Supermarket 2015
    47. E&H Food Group 2015
    48. Mi Pueblo Food Centers 2015
    49. Town & Country Grocers 2015
    50. C&K Market 2015

Report ranks Natural Grocers as Yelp favorite.

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A new analysis of customer reviews posted on the Yelp site indicates Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Lakewood, Colo., draws the highest customer satisfaction scores from a group of selected publicly traded food retailers.

The analysis, published in a research note Friday by Bill Kirk of RBC Capital Markets, manually aggregated more than 130,000 Yelp customer reviews on more than 2,050 grocery stores. On Yelp’s five-star rating system, Natural Grocers averaged 4.14, the highest overall score among a group of publicly traded peers, followed by Sprouts Farmers Market (3.87), Whole Foods (3.71), The Fresh Market (3.70), Smart & Final (3.57), Kroger (3.37) and Supervalu’s Save-A-Lot (3.17). A “weighted average” removing the effect of rarely-reviewed stores resulted in the same sequential ranking, Kirk noted.

Natural Grocers’ scores compared favorably to privately held Trader Joe’s (4.24 average score) and Publix (4.10); and outscored Trader Joe’s in its core Colorado markets 4.09 to 4.08.

 “We believe that investors who would love the opportunity to invest in privately held Trader Joe’s are ignoring a similar opportunity at Natural Grocers,” Kirk said.

Sprouts, the second-highest rated retailer in RBC’s coverage by Yelp scores, was also outperforming its peers among its newer stores – an indication supporting the company’s ongoing geographical expansion.
“Other regional strong retailers have struggled when expanding outside their core markets,” Kirk wrote. Although Sprouts tended to draw slightly lower review scores in newer markets of Kansas, Missouri, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee (3.78) than established markets of Arizona and California (3.88), “we believe the small difference is encouraging. Using The Fresh Market (core in Southeast and new market of Texas) as a proxy, we find a sharper difference between reviews in new markets and reviews in core markets. The Fresh Market has an average review of 3.78 in the Southeast, but just 3.55 in Texas and 3.53 outside the Southeast.”

Natural Grocers marks 60th anniversary.

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Natural Grocers said Wednesday it will officially celebrate its 60th anniversary the week of April 22 — which encompasses Earth Day —  with a series of giveaways and special events.

The chain, founded in 1955 by Margaret and Philip Isely and based in Lakewood, Colo., operates 95 stores in 16 states, with sales estimated at $521 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2014. The company said it expects to add 18 new stores this year.

“This anniversary celebrates our 60-year commitment to health, nutrition, empowerment and sustainability,” said Kemper Isely, co-president. “Our parents started this company by planting seeds of health and empowerment, and we’ll continue planting those seeds for years to come.”

To mark the anniversary and Earth Day, the chain will offer free plant-at-home vegetable-seed packets to the first 50 paying customers at each of its stores; a free reusable bag to every paying customer while supplies last; and a free special-edition copy of “Cows Save the Planet” to the first 60 customers who spend $60 or more.

Natural Grocers also said it will plant 30 trees in three Colorado communities “with significant or historic meaning to the company”: Golden, where the company was founded; Lakewood, where it is based; and Denver, the metropolitan community to which it has longtime ties.

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