A store where coffee pods rule

With 500 flavours, Blackfalds Family Foods is doing booming business in pods

Coffee Pods-Jan14

In the tiny town of Blackfalds, Alta., population 7,275, an hour and a half south of Edmonton, there’s brisk trade in K-Cups.

The town’s independent grocer, Blackfalds Family Foods, has made a name for itself in the Keurig coffee-pod (K-Cups) business, stocking every K-Cup flavour imaginable.

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With 500 brands and flavours in store, Family Foods was recently named as having the biggest selection of K-Cups in Canada by Keurig, maker of the coffee pods.

Just how one independent grocer in a small town claimed coffee fame is a testament to the power of knowing customers and giving them what they need.

Owner, Rich Knebel, first introduced K-Cups, about four years ago, when he noticed that many of his friends, mostly in their late 20s and early 30s, were starting to use the machines.

Knebel quickly discovered that K-Cups were ideal for Blackfalds’ java lovers. Most have to drive to Red Deer, Lacombe or other nearby towns for work. Brewing coffee at home in the morning turns out to be a huge time saver for these busy commuters

“We carry [a large] amount of Keurig K-Cups because we know that Blackfalds is the start of someone’s day.” Knebel says.

To get customers on the K-Cup bandwagon, Knebel sells Keurig brewers for often half off the regular retail price. He knows that the more of the machines he sells, the greater the demand for the pods.

“Our community now loves premium single-serve coffee,” says Knebel.

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On average, five to eight pallets of Keurig move out of the store each week, with weekly individual pod sales between 50,000 and 80,000. Each pallet houses up to 10,000 K-Cups (boxes of 12) along with other Keurig products.

“The potential gross is much higher than the estimated $96,000 in K-Cup sales alone a week,” he says.

“Part of our success is being able to quickly provide what customers want.