When our local grocery store added a health clinic, I thought it was a bad idea. Their latest foray into branded space-sharing has me even more baffled. The first thing you see when you walk into the grocer isn’t an aisle of food, rather it is a mini-Claire’s boutique shop. (Claire’s is a teen-focused jewelry and accessory store.)

Why do racks of earrings belong in the grocery? I am guessing it is because they represent potential profit, either through rent or sales, but otherwise I see no coherent tie to their mission or brand.

If the grocery store wanted to bring in an outside vendor, wouldn’t it make more sense to partner with a cooking store like Williams-Sonoma to sell items people might use to prepare the food the grocer sells? Or display a corner of beautiful linens and tablecloths to set the table for a bountiful feast? Or work with a bookstore to provide a cookbook nook where recipes could be highlighted and the necessary items to prepare them could be pre-packaged to make purchases easy?

I am all for partnerships, but I like them much more when they are aligned, not just exploited.

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