'Full service' grocery shopping in Youngstown starts soon
by Terry Duffy
Plans are coming along nicely for Youngstown's newest grocery shopping addition - Melloni's Market Place - slated to open for business at 9 a.m. next Saturday, May 14, at 200 Lockport St., in the village.
Lou Melloni, longtime owner/operator of Melloni's Deli and Catering of Lewiston on Center Street, was upbeat this week as he looked around the ongoing renovations at his soon-to-open supermarket, which is located in the Rite Aid plaza next to the Red Brick School village center. "That's the plan," he says of next Saturday's grand opening. "So far so good."
"The floors should be done by this weekend ... the stock is being ordered today ... we should be ready to go ... and all the equipment is working," he adds.
Describing his new business as "a full service grocery store," Melloni made special mention of some of the new attractions that Youngstown shoppers can look forward to. Among them, a butcher's block of quality meat offerings - including the Melloni family's award-winning, homemade Italian sausage, Polish sausage and Lewiston bratwurst; a full-service in-house coffee shop; baked goods selections; even Portage Bakery Italian bread trucked in daily from Canada.
"We're also going to be stuffing our own fudge cannolis," he adds.
Melloni, who has been associated with the supermarket trade since age 17, says he came upon the opportunity to acquire the Youngstown supermarket business by word of mouth. His financial adviser stopped by at his Lewiston store and told him he had talked to one of the wives of the current owners. "They were looking to sell; he mentioned it to me," he recalls.
In the meantime he says his wife, Diane, told him of a close friend and Youngstown resident who was urging the family to look into the village. "How wonderful it would be if we took it over," his wife said of the conversation.
"When I came home and told her ... she immediately said she wanted it."
And so it began. "When I first started this campaign I thought 'wow,' what an income potential I could make out of here," says Melloni, who brings decades of butchering and supermarket experience to the business.
"But after being down here, talking to the people, visiting the Village Dinner, talking to every one in the morning out in front of the store, I realized this isn't my store, this is their store. And there is a need for it.
"And the only person I am is the one giving it back to them."
Melloni says thus far the response from the community has been great. "People have been wonderful, the mayor has been wonderful, total cooperation. The building inspector (the village) ... everyone has been on board."
He says his wife and family members will be helping him run the business and he's still accepting applications for employment. He invites interested job seekers to stop by.
Starting next Saturday, Melloni says he plans to be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and have his focus on customer service, including grocery carry outs to vehicles.
"Customer service all the way," he says, adding that, if need be, the store will open even earlier.
"We want to be known as a family operation store," says Melloni. He invites you to stop by and shop.