OAK BROOK, Ill. -- Fairplay Finer Foods, a Chicago-based independent, learned the hard way that the strategy to "be yourself" is the key to winning over Hispanic customers. The eight-unit operator, in essence, tried too hard to compete with local Hispanic food merchants, diluting its mainstream groceries emphasis and not meeting the target market's expectations, said Mike Kozlowski, general manager of Fairplay, speaking at a meeting here of the Merchandising Executives Club of Chicago. The ...

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