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Ask Paul B: Mariano’s More Than A Proven Player in the Grocery Business

Thu September 29 2011 6:49 pm
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Dear Paul B Fans,

I just left Mariano’s for the third time this week. I would imagine if Mariano’s was a person, I would be suspected of stalking! My neighbor now works for them, and she just absolutely loves it. She worked in the food biz for 21 years (mostly restaurants) but she feels reborn again, excited to go to work, and enjoys her associates there. Would you believe (of course you would) drum roll, please, that Mariano’s employs 480 people at this store. Yes, I said 480! This is some operation, dare I say, and I have yet to meet anyone who isn’t overly friendly. My neighbor/Mariano’s employee was subjected to some extensive testing for both psychological and intellectual abilities, to be offered the position. The management at Mariano’s knows exactly how to run a top-drawer grocery. They are absolutely killing us with kindness, which has become a lost component in our society today. Many people appear to go about their jobs with little enthusiasm, pride, and even less care for the customer.

From the very second one walks in the front door at Mariano’s, you are aware that something is in the air. This is NOT Jewel, Dominicks, Sunset Foods or even Whole Foods. You feel energized as there are “featured foods” at the very front with two approachable experts on that featured food. Huge Granny Smith Caramel Apples were being dipped and offered to their guests, and I was impressed. It was just out of this world! I continued on my shopping trek while speaking to numerous shoppers about their “shared positive experience” at this store. Wide isles, new products, easy to reach lower shelving (for those vertically challenged,) and associates everywhere you turn for assistance. I am an avid price checker, and found very little to complain about, and that speaks volumes. For sure, I purchased a few more items that I needed, but I still feel like I came out ahead, and had a blast while I was there. You might think that I lead a pretty boring life if food shopping has climbed to near the top of my list, but I dare you to shop there and tell me you didn’t have one heckuva great time.

Mariano’s has proven to themselves that they are a major player now, and will be opening a half dozen new stores: Roscoe Village, Palatine, Millenium Park, another Chicago spot and one more t.b.a. Keep your eyes open for this Palatine location which, according to a little birdie, will be the biggest food store within 100 miles.

The HUGE downside to Mariano’s will be determined when we each jump on our collective scales to see if the added lbs. were really necessary. Heck, at least we aren’t grazing at the local McDonalds (pardon me, Ronald.)

I am on my way now to the kitchen for just one more peach muffin before lunch–bon appetite, yawl.

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