Couple Excited for Future of Holly Foods
(Mel Corrigan, Feb. 10, 2021)
Holly, MI – Tucked into the Holly Plaza Shopping Center in the northeast corner of the Holly and Grange Hall Road’s intersection is Holly Foods. The 20,000 square-foot store boasts a spacious entrance, updated produce department and new owners.
Brenda and Dhaval Vaishnav acquired Holly Foods in October 2020, after a long search for a new business opportunity that would allow them to leverage their experience with store ownership and challenge them to grow further. “We wanted a business we could commit to and one that would help us grow, professionally, for the next twenty years. Holly Foods satisfied those requirements,” Brenda said. The Canton natives quickly fell in love with Holly as a community, and became excited to take part in serving its 6,000 residents. “Holly is a great place to live and has a lot of great people.”
The Vaishnavs have a long history of working together. They’ve owned a restaurant and several convenience stores. When I asked Brenda about their working dynamic, she explained that their different personalities complement one another well. “Dhaval has the big picture. I have the fine details,” she said. In all regards of business, they work well together and have found a balance in working together.
Upon taking ownership, it became clear that customers weren’t happy with some aspects of Holly Foods, and their suggestions directly informed Brenda and Dhaval’s actions in reimagining the store. “One of the first things we did was to clean up and physically open up the store. We removed shelving units at the entrance and repositioned fixtures in the produce area making the store more open, inviting and navigable,” Brenda said.
And that was only the beginning.
“In the deli/bakery department, we brought back fresh, homemade dips and cheeseballs and added take-and-bake pizzas, expanded bakery options, and installed a new open-air deli case from which we now sell a wide array of grab-and-go fresh sandwiches and salads,” Brenda said.
The addition of on-trend food sections, such as plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free products and more, were in direct response to customer suggestions. Adding Guernsey Farms Dairy products, such as milk and ice cream, was also in direct response to customer requests. The products are part of a pilot program of sorts: if customer demand is strong, they’ll be able to continue stocking products from the Northville-based dairy.
Plus, there’s a whole lot more in store this year for Holly Foods’ customers. A relaunch of their catering program is underway. A complete “store reset” is planned for April 2021: A team analyzed customer trends (consumer wants and dislikes) and the organization of aisles and product displays within the given floor space were evaluated. The outcome will be new shelving, displays and product orientation store-wide.
Brenda is excited to roll out a digital media program for customers. One aspect will be a customer loyalty program, which will work similarly to the types of programs that exist at other stores. While still in the research phase, the program will likely require only a customer phone number to initiate the account, and points and coupons will be part of the program, too. The number one goal aside from helping shoppers get more value when they shop at Holly Foods is to keep it simple for customers. Additionally, text notification of weekly ads will be offered. Curbside pickup and delivery programs will be implemented in the future, too.
The Vaishnavs are coordinating with an outside vendor to bring a rib fest to Holly this summer. The present goal is to begin in May and go monthly through August and it will be open to the whole community. They need to iron out ordinance requirements and logistics issues. Brenda is looking forward to running a safe and convenient event that will be fun and delicious for participants.
When asked why it’s important to Brenda to serve the local community, she said, “With any business in the community, there has to be a two-way relationship. There’s a responsibility to give back to the community.” And one way Holly Foods is working to give back is by relaunching the Direct Your Labels program. Direct Your Labels is a program that enables local nonprofits to earn money while doing what they do anyway—shopping for groceries! Additional information can be found at www.ourfamilyfoods.com/direct-your-labels.
Brenda and Dhaval recently created a new website and Facebook page for the store. Additionally, you can call Holly Foods with questions 248-634-9641. If you have feedback for them, please use the suggestion box at the front of the store. The owners and their
team review the content daily. While it might be unable to address every individual concern, commitment to the customer is at the core of their ethos.
If you haven’t checked out Holly Foods lately, stop on in and give it a try. Whether your first visit or thousandth, I suspect you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you see.