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Orchard Supply builds brand identity

San Jose, Calif.-based Orchard Supply Co. CEO Mark Baker described the retailer's efforts to keep the brand fresh while also honoring the company's 80-plus-year history.

An emphasis on the in-store experience and local knowledge is key for the California chain, Baker explained during his presentation to the Presidents Council advisory board meeting during the International Builders' Show here in Orlando, Fla.

"We're not a small big box, but a really big small box," he said.

Orchard Supply's 87 locations -- all in California -- range from 42,000 sq. ft. to 75,000 sq. ft., he said, carrying 45,000 SKUs.

The local-market concept, which fuels growth in the grocery sector at companies such as Whole Foods and Fresh & Easy, is a force in hardware retailing also, he said. And Orchard Supply believes it has an opportunity to grow with its access to capital combined with an ability to engage customers in local markets.

In 2012, Orchard expects to open three new stores and remodel six.

Asked about the possibility of expanding beyond California, Baker said such a move is a logical next step for the company, but he offered no time frame for doing so. Strong lawn and garden markets -- Pacific Northwest and Las Vegas, for instance -- are natural areas of expansion, he added.  "We see near term California is where we should be and continue to grow out," he said.

Five key priorities for Orchard Supply are:
• Project a consistent and compelling brand identity;
• Drive sales through merchandising and marketing initiatives;
• Improve operational efficiencies;
• Align resources and talent; and
• Strengthen the company's financial position.

Just as any other category of

Just as any other category of products enlisted in the sales industry field, foods and beverages need brands to sell on the market. That`s right, just as it happens for any other product, the customer needs to associate the product with the image of wealth, health, good taste and pleasure, at least one of those, in order to be convinced to buy it. To provide a small example, it`s just what happened to my little boy, I would buy him goodies from one of those commercial frozen yogurt machine at the mall, on Sundays. He liked it so much, that he now associates walks with goodies.

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