48 days ago we posted a screenshot on Twitter of Right By Nature ads on BPGH. These ads were served by Google Adsense and were popping up in Pittsburgh related searches all over the web. We tweeted the pic at the time do dispell rumors that the store was closing.
Here was the reply from @RightByNature:
Earlier today, the company announced on their Facebook page that as of Saturday, April 30, 2011, the Strip District store will be closed.
We will be suspending our operation at our location in the Strip on Saturday- we’ve made many changes over the past year, with our goal being to drive more customers down to the strip for their grocery shopping- but the location has proven challenging in becoming your ‘regular’ place to shop.
Right By Nature has been a locally owned grocery store option in Pittsburgh since 2008. We’re sad to see them go, but the recent time-line of events is peculiar isn’t it? Rumors spread about their closing, ads popping up all over the Pittsburgh interwebs the same week, tweeting that they were planning on expanding, then about a month later announcing they are closing the next day. At first glance you might think someone in the company knew about their plans to close as early as 48 days ago and leaked the info. Maybe the company denied it because they needed their customers to think they were remaining open… even if only for another month or so. Perhaps this was due to lease agreements, supplier contracts, or to buy time to dwindle their stock – or maybe they simply wanted to give it one last shot to make it work.
Right By Nature is a grocery store that people either loved or hated (mostly loved it). Such as with Whole Foods, there are people who will bitch and moan about the “high prices” of healthier lifestyle groceries. But you can usually find those people at Walmart filling their carts with BOGO Lucky Charms, Little Debbie snacks (and Coke, see below). Actually, if you do a side-by-side comparison between Whole Foods and Giant Eagle, you’ll find that the prices at Whole Foods are the same or sometimes even cheaper. The catch is that you have to compare products within the same quality level. For example, you can’t compare Horizon organic cheese slices from Whole Foods with Giant Eagle brand processed cheese slices. It’s all relative.
Speaking of food quality and healthy choices, we didn’t understand the banner Right By Nature came up with. The company name promotes natural foods, but the ad promoted the “best of both worlds,” meaning unnatural junk like pop comprised of high-fructose corn syrup, artificial preservative, and coloring. A head of lettuce next to a can of Coke? Really RBN, there is nothing natural about a can of Coke and kind of contradicts the name. At least at WF you can trust that they strictly filter their goods to ensure everything really is all natural.
Maybe they will consider changing the name when they reopen. Oh yeah, they are hoping to reopen at a later date, and in a different location:
Right by Nature and Good Apples will be suspending all services from our 23rd and Smallman location on May 2nd. This suspension is due to the economic challenges of this specific location at 23rd and Smallman; we are continuing to pursue future opportunities for Right by Nature and Good Apples. Our hope is to open later this year in a new location and we look forward to being able to invite Pittsburgh back to shop with us at Right by Nature Your Hometown Market.
As mentioned in the official press release, the Strip is a cool place but probably not the best business decision for a food store. Everything in the Strip closes at like 5pm which prevented RBN from staying open as late as their competitors. On top of that, nobody lives in the Strip! They would be thriving if they were based in a neighborhood location.
Hopefully they had a free trial credit for all those Google ads. Pay per click Adsense banners are overpriced and not the best method of advertising a business like a grocery store. And not to mention, what if their competitors clicked their ads? They would have been better off advertising on Boring Pittsburgh where the ads would have been directed to Pittsburghers and cost a flat rate no matter how many times they are clicked.
Dear Right By Nature, there are countless commercial spaces available to you guys in Pittsburgh. Squirrel Hill in the old Barnes and Noble, the old Joseph Beth in Southside Works, and if you really have balls, you can try the old Borders in East Side. Noticing a theme here? Maybe you guys can sell cookbooks too lol. Oh yeah, and when you are ready to announce the grand reopening, we welcome you to announce it on Boring Pittsburgh!
Tomorrow (Saturday 4/30) we’ll be open from 8-6 and we’ll discount 40% from the store and 50% from Natural Living.
We wish them the best and hope they find a way to reopen again soon.