Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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38 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | February 2017 A bout a decade ago, Tony Orlando, owner of Tony O's Supermarket, in Kingsville, Ohio, knew he had to make some changes in his store if he was going to stay in business. "I wanted to keep building strong niches because I saw the future, which is, we're going to be out of business if we don't really give them some signature, branded items that they have to come here for," he says. "I changed over to 100 percent scratch in my deli, and we never looked back." Orlando is the main innovator in the department, and he tries to make 30 to 40 new items every year to add to its mainstays, like five-cheese macaroni 'n' cheese, meatloaf, rigatoni with meatballs, goulash, and baked beans. e department also offers 100 kinds of salads, such as stuffed baked potato, cucumber or sweet dill pickle, that rotate in and out depending on the sea- son. e deli case measures only 22 feet, so Orlando is judicious about what's offered and the price point. "We're very acutely aware of value, but we will stick to the homemade philosophy," he says. e staff also is trained to engage customers without making them feel cornered. "We say, 'What can I get for you today? Tony just made a fresh batch of potato salad.' And then, boom — they have a sample in their hand be- cause we've handed it to them," he notes. Controlling the sampling is important, and Orlando doesn't believe in leaving samples on top of the counter, because that makes it too easy for customers to grab them and leave without employees having a chance to engage. "If you control the sampling, your sales go up 80 percent," Orlando says. "We control, we engage, we talk to people. We just try to stay relevant." Tony O's Supermarket, Kingsville, Ohio Deli/Prepared Foods Economical Bases • Merchandisers • Forecourt Products VISIT US AT NGA • LAS VEGAS • FEB 12-15 • BOOTH #206

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