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Quality Customer-Focused Ideation (INTERVIEW)

Anthony Longo, President and CEO of Longo's
Sarah St.Jules
November 27th, 2013
Beginning in 1956, Longo Brothers Fruit Market was the go-to place to purchase all of your fresh produce. 57 years later, this family run business still holds true to it’s original values, and remains as one of the best places in Canada to purchase high quality food. Anthony Longo, the President and CEO of Longo’s, has been a major part of the company’s evolution. Now, the company has become a full-scale grocer, but they still have a strong focus on perishables. Even through this expansion, Longo’s has been able to maintain their intimate family focused nature, and that is demonstrated in how much they care about those who shop at their stores.

3 Questions with Anthony Longo

1. How does your team generate new ideas?
There is a combination of things we do in order to generate new ideas. We visit local competitors to see what they're doing, and we also look at other companies that aren't direct competitors of ours. In order to gain further insights, we have several people who are on a Share Group. This Share Group includes members from non-competing companies that come together to speak about innovation, and to ultimately share new ideas. We also use the Neilsen Company to speak with us about the industry. A few years ago, we had David Foote speak with us on how the changing and aging demographic will impact our industry, and also how to balance the rise of ethnic groups. We also like to listen to our customers. They know what they want and don't want, and that's a great place to generate new ideas.

2. What makes an innovative culture? How do you create a culture of innovation?
It's as simple as asking people for ideas and letting them know that you're open to tweaking what you're doing. Also, we expect things to fail. If you let your team know that some failure is inevitable, then they won't be as gunshy to try new things. When you have your team unafraid to try, they will help to evolve categories and offerings.

3. Looking to the future, how will Longo's continue to be a leader in innovation?
We will continue to listen to our customers and be open-minded with our supply partners. Also, being a part of the Share Group will allow us to gain insights, whether it be about food or not. We will also keep our ear to the ground and continue to test, learn and grow.
References: linkedin, longos