BR coffee maker says Walmart pulling product from shelves
BATON ROUGE - The owner of Baton Rouge based River Road Coffees says Walmart is pushing for efficiency at the expense of local brands after the coffee maker’s product was pulled from store shelves over the weekend.
Owner Ian Melancon said he wasn’t even notified by the corporation when all of his company’s products disappeared from the shelves of most Baton Rouge area Walmarts over the weekend.
Melancon said he made several calls to contacts at local stores as well as Walmart Corporate. Eventually he was notified by email from a Walmart rep that said: “The decision was not made lightly and in an effort to streamline the business and focus on the basics and other growth avenues there, your brand along with many others was removed from the modular (store)."
Melancon says he feels Walmart will remove many local brands from their shelves as they attempt to further streamline operations. He feels confident that Walmart will remove all of his products from its shelves in all stores within a week.
“Big box chains such as Walmart make it very difficult for small business like River Road Coffee to compete against national brands, and this decision by them to remove local brands from their stores is just another example of how hard it is for local companies to grow in markets dominated by big box stores,” reads a release from River Road Coffees’ New Orleans based marketing firm.
With many local Walmart stores now lacking the favorite coffee of some of the brand’s loyal customers, they’ve taken to social media to voice their concerns. River Road Coffees says they’ve been referring customers to “more locally-focused grocery and specialty food stores.” In Baton Rouge, the places they’ve been sending people include Calvin’s Bocage Market, Calandro’s Super Market, Hi Nabor, Matherne’s, Alexander’s, Rouse’s and others.
Walmart issued the following statement when contacted regarding the
“We're committed to carrying Louisiana products in our stores. While it's not uncommon for us adjust our assortment based on customer feedback or demand, our focus continues to be on providing our customers with the right assortment of local products they want. Businesses of all sizes grow with Walmart in a number of ways, and we encourage River Road Coffees to make its items available to the millions of customers who shop Walmart.com. Last fiscal year alone, we spent more than $521 million with Louisiana suppliers --- supporting more than 25,000 jobs.”
River Road Coffees has been blending, roasting and distributing coffee out of Baton Rouge since 1998.