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Your Guide to Buying a Grocery Store

Posted On: / By: Brian Knoderer
Buying A Business

Grocery stores prove to be essential, especially last year, as they went largely unaffected by the pandemic. With a 656 billion dollar market size, there are more than enough opportunities for new and aspiring business owners to enter this growing market. But before you decide on buying a grocery store, you should take the time to get familiarized with the industry and plan appropriately.

Ask These Questions Before You Buy a Supermarket

Grocery store ownership can be a rewarding opportunity for the right individual. However, before investing your time and resources into this new venture, you must ask yourself the right questions in advance. Use the following questions to help set your new business up for success.

1. How will you keep up with the competition?

As a prospective business owner, you’ll have several food store chains and local businesses to keep up with, including Walmart, Whole Foods, Costco, Kroger, Amazon Fresh, and even nearby farmers’ markets. Start brainstorming ways you can set your store apart, attract new customers, and strengthen loyalty with the store’s existing shoppers, such as:

  • Expanding your current grocery items and food brand offerings
  • Enhancing the store’s social media presence
  • Developing a customer rewards or loyalty program
  • Offering more health food options, such as gluten and dairy-free alternatives
  • Implementing a curbside pick up program

2. Why is the current grocer leaving?

Next, you’ll want to find out the reasoning behind the current owner’s decision to exit the business. Many food and convenience store retailers commonly leave due to retirement or because they’re moving. Still, it’s not unusual for owners to sell a grocery store due to low-profit margins or poor financial performance. If this is the case, be especially cautious, as it’s often challenging and time-consuming for businesses to recover from financial hardships.

3. What does the sale include?

customer pushes cart through grocery store

Grocery stores and supermarkets require much more than just fresh produce, deli, and other food items to stay in business. You’ll need to ensure you have working registers and checkout equipment, cleaning supplies, shopping carts, shelving, and other storeroom equipment necessary for operation. Since these starting costs can quickly add up, it may be beneficial to ask the current owner what’s included in the sale. Once you have a better idea, you can decide what needs to be purchased and budget accordingly.

Other Considerations to Take Into Account

Additionally, before you begin your venture into grocery store ownership, you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure the success of your business. Consider the grocery store’s:

Target customers: Store shoppers greatly influence which items will sell betters than others. Once you know your customer demographics, you can better understand your inventory needs and plan accordingly.

Location: Store traffic and site often correlate with one another. You’ll want to ensure that the business is close enough to the target customers and is near other businesses that can help drive foot traffic.

Employees: Finding and hiring new employees is time-consuming and expensive in some cases. See if any of the current store team members plan to stay on after the ownership transfer. Experienced staff can help you acclimate to your new business faster and even assist you in finding other qualified new hires.

Are you interested in learning more about buying a grocery store? Get in touch with the experts at Sunbelt Business Brokers. Our network of professionals can help locate your ideal business and match you up with qualified sellers. With years of experience in the brokerage industry, we’ve helped countless individuals through every stage of the business buying journey. Contact your nearest office today to get started!


Brian Knoderer is the President of Sunbelt Business Brokers. He has over 20 years of experience as a business owner and managing business transactions. As a seasoned intermediary, Brian has successfully represented companies in a broad range of industries helping business owners achieve their desired exit strategy or growth initiative.

Brian is also co-owner of Sunbelt Indiana and Managing Director of MMI Capital Partners, a franchisor focused investment banking firm.

Previously Brian was involved in several entrepreneurial ventures as well as having held corporate roles in Franchise Development for Prime Hospitality and Choice Hotels.

Brian is a graduate of Ball State University with a degree in Management Information Systems and earned his MBA from Butler University. He has received the Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA) designation, holds both the Series 7 – General Security License and the Series 63 – Uniform Securities Licenses, and is a licensed Real Estate Broker. He has been affiliated with several organizations including the Entrepreneur Organization, a Member of the International Business Brokers Association, Venture Club, and a Board Member of The Entrepreneur Institute.

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