What You Need for Starting a New Grocery Store

Starting a grocery store is a new and exciting endeavor. You can build your business the way you want and once it’s up and running, enjoy what you have created. There are many steps along the way that can seem daunting and stressful. IT Retail was formed by grocers, and for 28 years, we have helped grocers grow their business. We know what you need to start a new grocery store, and we are here to help walk you through it!

The Paperwork

Create a Business Plan

The first thing you need to do is create a business plan and budget. Create a clear plan and map out the specifics of what your business will entail. You will also discover some things that you do not know, which is important to keep note of as you build your plan. A major factor to consider is your budget. What are the startup and ongoing costs? This includes the cost of the building, equipment, labor, inventory, and other costs of the business. An essential part of any grocery store is a check lane and a quality POS system. IT Retail can provide you with an efficient and always up-to-date POS system for your grocery store.

You also need to consider who your customers are. Your customers are going to be how you are making a profit, and you need to find your target market. Identify who you are going to market towards, and how you can do so successfully. Scope out your competition to see how your business can have more appeal to your ideal market. See what specific products your ideal customers are looking for – maybe you can appeal to them by including a coffee shop, or offering packaged dinners. This will also help you discover how much you can charge your customers, and how much you will be able to profit.

Legal Requirements

As you are deciding all of this, keep in mind what legal entity your business will be. There are three common options, sole proprietorship, general partnerships, and limited liability partnership. 

  • Sole Proprietorship: The business is owned and operated by an individual. It does not offer much financial support or liability protection, but it is the easiest to set up. 
  • General Partnership: This business has two or more owners and is similar to a sole proprietorship. The difference is that all partners must agree on the ownership percentage of each member, and there is no liability protection. 
  • Limited Liability Partnership: The business has one partner that works every business day, and one who invests money. This offers limited liability, depending on the location of the company. IT Retail recommends this option so that if anything happens to your company, it will not affect your or your investor’s personal finances. 

You could also choose to form a co-op, where the store is owned by the people that shop there. Food co-ops products are decided by the customers and they have more control over the prices and quality of their products. This option is often appealing for building community and providing affordable healthy food options to the surrounding area. This also provides limited liability to the store owners.  

When you establish a legal business entity like an LLC or corporation, you are protected from being held personally liable if your grocery store is sued. To start an LLC, you only have to pay the minimum state LLC costs, or you can also hire an LLC service. You will also need an Employee Identification Number, or EIN. an EIN functions like a social security number for your business and lets the IRS identify your business for tax reporting. You can receive an EIN for free through the IRS.

Get your finances in order

Once you have an LLC or corporation, and an EIN, you need to have your taxes in order. Small businesses are taxed in different ways depending on if they are a corporation or an LLC. Look into your region’s tax regulations for sales tax and franchise taxes. Your business will also need its own bank account and credit card. This will be essential for protecting your personal assets. If your business is sued, you do not want your personal assets to be at risk. Your business’ own bank account will also help build credit for better interest rates and higher lines of credit. Once you open your business account, it is recommended to open net-30 accounts. These accounts allow your company to pay the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services so that your store can get inventory quickly without losing cash right away.

This can help your business build credit and have positive cash flow. A credit card can also improve your business cash flow. Keep track of all of your expenses and sources of income through every development to help simplify annual tax filing as well.

Get Licensed

When starting a business, there are federal and state regulations that require you to have the right permit. If you do not have the right permits and licenses, you run the risk of hefty fines, or your store getting shut down. 

Most states require business owners to obtain a grocer’s license. If you would like to sell alcohol, you will also need a liquor license. Each state has its regulations and specifications for licenses, which is crucial to look into as you start your business. Your grocery store may also need a resale certificate, which allows your store to purchase goods intended for resale without having to pay sales tax. 

All establishments that sell food are required to pass a health inspection and will need licensing from the local health department. Your grocery store will also need a certificate of occupancy, which confirms that all of your building codes, zoning laws, and government regulations have been met. 

Finally, you will need business insurance. Business insurance protects the financial well-being of your store and ensures that your business is run safely and lawfully. The most common coverage used is General Liability Insurance and Workers Compensation Insurance. 

As you get your store up and running, you will encounter health inspections. Health inspections are conducted to ensure that your store stays up to code with health and safety regulations. It is crucial to keep your store up to code and take care of the little things in your store so that health inspections are easily handled. If your store is not up to code, your store could be shut down by your local health department. Keep your health department inspectors’ regulations in mind as you set up your store, and always be aware of your local city laws.

Get Connected With the Right People

As you get your plan, legal requirements, and the overall paperwork figured out, it is important to start networking with people and companies that can help your business grow. IT Retail works with a myriad of companies that helps retailers grow and improve their business. From optimizing your store’s software, improving your accounting processes, to growing towards eCommerce, IT Retail’s Integrations can help. When you work with IT Retail, we are happy to introduce you to our partners. We can send out an introductory email to get you started. 

IT Retail has integrated with companies like Quickbooks to help your business accounting, Local Express, Marcato, and Instacart that bring your store online, and AppCard to help your companies payment processing and rewards programs. To learn more about IT Retail’s integrations, visit our website

 

Inside the store

Get The Right Equipment

You are going to need the right building and location for your grocery store. Find a location that is in a busy area with businesses around it, that is easily noticeable and accessible. If you are in a location that has a good surrounding area that fits your demographic, you will be more likely to gain customers. 

Now that you have the location, your building, and your paperwork, you are going to need the right equipment in your grocery store. You will need shelves and display cases to display your products, and fridges and refrigerators to store your perishable goods. You will also need hardware and software for your check-out lanes and payment processing. 

Sometimes less is more when you want to appeal to your customers. You may not have the resources to have a built-in coffee shop yet, but you can still increase sales by offering limited-time events. This could include having a seasonal sample bar, a tasting session, or engaging displays for promotions. These limited-time events can show you what draws in more sales, and what permanent inclusions your store may benefit from. 

Build Your Team and Knowledge

As you begin building your store, research the best ways to build your team of employees. Your employees will be the backbone of your store, and it will be crucial for you to train your employees correctly so that your store runs smoothly. 

Training your employees will take some time. It’s important to research how you want your store to be run, and the best practices for managing a team. Resources like the IGA Institute offer tools to help your employees learn the ropes of your store, and help you measure employee performance with testing and certification. 

As you build your team, find ways to efficiently manage scheduling, wages, and employee benefits. Resources like When I Work offer an efficient way for you to schedule your team and manage work hours. Use tools that help you run your store efficiently while offering your employees clear communication. Services like Gusto can help you manage employee wages and benefits as well. 

IT Retail is always ready to help you learn more about employee management while offering our employee tracking solutions that work seamlessly with our POS system. Our employee tracking system makes it easy for you to manage hours of work and employee tasks. We also encourage you to look into as many resources as possible about running a grocery store. 

Here at IT Retail, we often attend shows like the National Grocer Association, Supermarket Shop, and Expo West. These events are the perfect places to learn about running a grocery store and new retail advancements. Consistent learning and improvement is the key to your success. To learn more about advancements in the world of grocery, subscribe to our blog and our podcast! 

IT Retail Can Help

IT Retail has all the hardware and software you need when you are starting your grocery store. We have perfected our POS system and always make sure that it is up to date and the best in class. Our POS system is easy to use and helps your employees work more efficiently. It has a customer display, the latest scanner, and scale technology, and saves both your customer and employee time. Our hardware also comes with a 3-year warranty, so that you can start your store worry-free! 

IT Retail also offers a payment processing solution that optimizes your checkout experience. IT Retail payments work seamlessly with our POS system so that you don’t have to worry about software incompatibility, or working with multiple companies. We offer the best rates possible for IT Retail Payments, and it also offers your customers multiple payment options like Apple Pay and Google Pay. 

We know that customers appreciate the option between going through a traditional checkout lane, and a self-checkout lane. This is why IT Retail has created our self-checkout kiosks. It is easy for your new customers to use, and helps them be serviced efficiently. You will also save labor costs by only needing one cashier for 6 checkout kiosks! 

Find Suppliers

To have enough products to sell and inventory to put on your shelves, you will need to find suppliers. Companies like food distributors and paper suppliers bring your grocery store paper products and food products that let you offer quality products to your customers. There is the company Unfi, which offers brand names and organic products for your store. American Paper Supply also offers paper products that you can put on your shelves.

Start Your Online Presence

It has never been easier to grow your online presence with social media. With social media, you can create an account for your brand new grocery store, and start advertising. Many social media sites allow you to pay for an ad on their platform so that you can spread the word about your new business. This can also help you target your ideal audience, as you can advertise to specific demographics. 

Your store should also have a quality website that your customers can visit. Your ads can link to your website so that people can learn what your business is about, and what goods and services you can offer them.

Bring Your Grocery Online

As you grow your online presence, you may see how popular eCommerce businesses are becoming. Many customers appreciate the conveniences of shopping online and having their products delivered to their door. Your grocery store can offer this convenience with the help of IT Retail. 

IT Retail can bring your grocery store online, and connect you with the help of our integrated companies. With our intuitive eCommerce platform, we can bring your entire store online and give you access to a huge delivery network all while you are focusing on your store! This can widen your customer base and increase your sales. 

 

Final Thoughts

Starting a grocery store can take a lot of hard work, and these lists of steps can make it even more daunting. Though, as you get started, your business will already begin to grow, and IT Retail can help you along the way. You will have to take care of some necessities, like legal requirements, finances, and licenses, and IT Retail can get you connected with the right people to get started! IT Retail can also provide you with an efficient POS system, payment processing, and bring your store a prominent online presence so that your store is a success!