Publication DateAugust 2001
Author(s)Jennifer S. Lobenhofer, Michael A. Stegman
Center researchers document the compelling business model of the nation’s largest minority grocer. Jimmy Johnson focuses on superior, customer-targeted service, community involvement, and workforce development and retention.
Employing a business model based on superior, customer-targeted service, community involvement, and workforce development and retention that are uniquely targeted to his environment and customer base, Johnny Johnson has become the largest minority grocer in the nation.
Johnson established Community Pride with four supermarkets in the inner city of his native Richmond, Virginia, in 1992 and has expanded to a total of eight markets—five inner-city locations plus three suburban locations. During the course of his business, Johnson has operated profitably in a market eschewed by many retailers, including grocers.
He attributes his success to identifying and meeting the unique needs of the communities in which he does business, thereby making sure that he offers value that will generate a brand loyalty even in the face of price competition from larger chains.
Johnson’s case illustrates the key elements of his compelling business model:
- Entrepreneur seizes early opportunities of untapped inner-city retail markets
- Hands-on management style has been key to continued success
- Demand-driven approach to the development of goods and services has created a high value proposition in a price-driven, low-margin business model
- Community involvement strategy is integrated into all aspects of the business model: site selection, marketing, purchasing, human resources