In 1905, just three years after moving to the USA from Sicily, Giovanni B. Russo started what is now called Russo’s International Market. Today, this fourth generation thriving family business is run by seven family members.
To get to know a little more about Russo’s International Market, we talked with Kelley Russo who is part of the fourth generation.
FBA: What do you love most about being part of a family business?
Kelley: As you and your siblings move out of the house, you tend to go your separate ways and not see each other as often. Being in a family business, we stay more connected.
FBA: Having a father/son business is very different from one that involves aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings. How have you managed this growth and maintained good relationships?
Kelley: We each have our own departments and responsibilities.
Overall, you have to check your ego at the door. My advice: If there’s conflict, talk it over with a glass of vino in-hand, purchased from one of our stores, of course.
FBA: You’ve outgrown your space and moved several times in your history, and you’ve just opened a new location downtown. What’s the process been like for making these decisions? How have you gotten everyone on board?
Kelley: We, as a family, chose to open the second location. With the fast-growing downtown economy, we saw that there was a huge need for a grocery store to serve the downtown community. So, we took a leap of faith and went for it.
The downtown store offers a lot more every day grocery staples, toiletries and home care items, as this location is a convenient drive or walk on your way home from work. We also added the bistro/bar to complement our retail wine, beer and specialty food offerings. Salute!
FBA: How does being a family business impact the experience your customers have when they shop with you?
Kelley: When you wait on a customer and they see that you are family, they realize that this truly is a business whose owners take the time to personally be involved in every aspect of the customer experience. Personal, friendly service is key—especially in this digital world.
FBA: Looking back at what your family has accomplished together over 112 years, how do you think Giovanni Russo would feel about the business today?
Kelley: We feel honored to continue the family legacy that Giovanni worked so hard to achieve. He was an innovator and risk-taker. I think that he would really be proud of us for following his lead.
Interested in learning more about Russo’s International Market? Check them out at www.gbrusso.com. They are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (warning, this contains lots of mouth-watering images).