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Twin brothers Jeff and Tom Heinen are the owners of Heinen’s Fine Foods, a grocery store empire started by their grandfather in Shaker Heights 90 years ago.
They have nearly 20 locations in Ohio and four more outside Chicago. Their customer base is large and loyal, something the twins cultivate with award-winning stores and their own Two Brothers line of specialty products.
We talked to the brothers Tuesday outside their Chagrin Falls Plaza Drive location and discussed how they're keeping business going in the day and age of Amazon Prime. They also discussed the future of their stores, and whether shoppers can expect expansions into more markets.
You can re-watch the full interview below:
The brothers said they've managed to stay relevant in the grocery game from the foundation their grandfather set when he built the company.
"He put a lot of emphasis on his people," Tom Heinen said. "He put a lot of emphasis on the best food. We believe our associates are the key to our success, always. ...I really believe if you have the vast majority of associates love working for Heinen's, the rest will take care of itself."
Considering the ever-changing competition with the likes of Amazon, Whole Foods and delivery services, Tom Heinen says the grocery industry is amid its most transformative stage.
"The basis of what we do is like any retail: You stay relevant, you provide a differentiated experience," Tom Heinen said, noting that Heinen's now offers home delivery and is experimenting with "click and collect," which allows shoppers to buy online and pick up their groceries at the store without having to walk inside.
Despite their continued success, the brothers say they have no current plans to expand to markets outside the Cleveland area.
"For the moment, we're staying put with what we have in Cleveland and what we have in Chicago," Jeff Heinen said.