A survey of the membership of a federally recognized confederation of Native American tribes identified a need and desire for a grocery store within the community. A first phase study, which included a generalized market analysis to determine if a grocery in the area was supportable, determined that the current market demographics and economics did support a big box grocery store from a national giant. Therefore, the Tribe needed to identify and determine the feasibility of alternative options that would meet the needs of the community while still offering economic benefits to the Tribe.
Pepper Foster Consulting was engaged to conduct a second phase study that would investigate the feasibility of expanding the existing gas station convenience store next to the casino to offer groceries, and identify other options that would meet the needs of the community while still offering economic benefits to the Tribe. Pepper Foster approached the project in three phases. First, we assessed the current state and identified key issues, themes, challenges and opportunities. We researched and reviewed all available documentation and data on population, demographics, spending habits, traffic, supply chain, customers, development costs, convenience store and casino operations and financials, and competitors. We visited the site, the community, and the existing / competing grocery stores in neighboring communities. We interviewed and surveyed key stakeholders including local residents, casino and tribal employees, convenience store customers, and tribal government representatives. Next, we determined the Future State Vision by identifying the internal and external fiscal and cultural constraints, setting the short, medium and long-term goals and targets, and brainstorming and prioritizing concepts and options that would meet the goals and needs of the Tribe within the identified fiscal and cultural constraints. Finally we assessed the feasibility of the high priority options against key criteria including ROI, implementation difficulty, availability of necessary resources, ongoing financial and commercial viability, and community impact and determined the best options to move forward with. The complete findings and recommendations of the study were then summarized, documented and presented to Tribal leadership.
The feasibility of opening a community-oriented grocery store operation was fully investigated, documented and determined. Viable alternative options were developed, prioritized and assessed. Recommendations and next steps were developed and presented to Tribal leadership. The Tribe was able to make decisions based on detailed data and analysis and move forward with a plan that will result in additional benefits to the Tribe and community while mitigating financial risks.