Super King Markets

Super King Markets operates seven locations throughout southern California that range in size from 35,000 to 55,000 square feet. Inside each market, patrons will discover an “extraordinarily” large produce department, as well as expansive meat and seafood counters, Barth explains. The market also offers a large liquor department, including value-priced wines to premium wines and spirits.

The mixed nut department is also a differentiator for the company. “We have a large and unique mixed nut, dried fruits and candies department,” he adds. “We have more than 300 SKUs in the mixed nut department and it’s so large and unique that other southern California retailers are copying us. Dried fruits and nuts are big items in the Middle East, and all of us like cashews, pistachios and mixed nuts.”

Better Pricing

Super King Markets adds new products weekly and is currently expanding its offerings to include more “Healthy Direction” products. “Those are anything that come under the heading of organic, non-GMO, low sodium or low sugar,” Barth explains. “It is anything that has a particular brand or package identified with a healthy attribute. We are rapidly expanding organic and natural products across all departments.”

The company can provide a wide variety of international food products at a reasonable price because of its volume. “It’s no secret we need volume,” Barth says. “We have 12 to 14 checkout stands in our stores and we generate big volume in our stores.”

Although buying in bulk helps maintain competitive pricing, Super King Markets employs 12 buyers for its seven stores to ensure it is partnering with the best suppliers and getting the best prices for its products. “We have great vendor partners who support us with on-time deliveries and participate in our marketing plans,” Barth says. “We have good, stable, successful partnerships.”

Super King Markets has a core group of suppliers it works with regularly, but the company is always open to adding new vendors. The company has a vendor portal on its website where potential partners can introduce themselves. “Southern California is so competitive, I assume everyone in this environment has to be constantly looking from a price perspective,” Barth adds. “That said, there is something to be said for long-term relationships because they understand us and we understand them, and we are on a first name basis with many people in our vendor companies.”

Solid Expertise

Customer service is of the utmost importance at Super King Markets. The company prides itself on hiring people who are right for retail and then providing them with very specific training in regards to the department they will be working. “There is a set of personal characteristics for retail that people either have or don’t have,” Barth says. “We try to be effective in the hiring process and hire people who are right for retail. We hire right, train them and lead them in a way that will help them be successful as long as they are here.”

As diverse as its customers are, the same can be said for Super King Markets’ employees. “We have dozens of employees whose first language is something other than English,” Barth notes. “It’s good, wonderful and fun, but it’s also a challenge in terms of communication. It provides us the benefit of diversity, excitement, authenticity and the ability to speak to our customers. We can usually find an employee who can speak to a customer in their native language.”

Super King Markets differentiates itself as an employer by offering full-time positions to a majority of its workforce. It also provides people with a future as the company looks to promote from within as it continues to expand. “We are trying to be a good employer, give people lots of hours and keep them busy,” Barth says. “A busy store is just a little more fun than if it’s really quiet. The more engaged our people are the more fun they will have.”

By engaging with the customer, Barth believes Super King Markets employees will find retail more interesting and exciting. “Human contact is what energizes us,” he adds. “By being at work and connecting with someone on any level is better than not doing it. We try and focus on that as an attribute of job satisfaction. We have no self-checkouts and baggers are at every checkout stand because we are very focused on service.”

Moving forward, Super King Markets plans to continue expanding throughout southern California by opening one to two stores per year. “We will continue to grow the store network by focusing on increased opportunities for existing employees,” Barth says. “We will continue to look at technology that improves our cost of doing business and visibility into the business.”