Success Stories

Groceria Merante

For more than 45 years, Groceria Merante has kept Pittsburgh, PA, locals supplied with premium cut-to-order deli meats and cheeses, hard-to-find imported groceries, specialty hand-packed ice creams, unique whole bean coffees, as well as hot Italian entrees to go.

Owner Filomena Merante says that the 2nd and 3rd generation Italian-American families who originally settled in the neighborhood regularly return from the suburbs for a taste of their favorite foods and to stock up on traditional staples, especially during the holidays.

Besides cooking her Italian entrees with only premium quality ingredients, Filomena credits the enduring success of the family’s cozy 900 square foot shop to her staff’s focus on making every customer’s visit an upbeat, welcoming experience.

Even if they are busy helping someone else, her tight-knit staff makes a point of establishing eye contact and warmly greeting each arriving customer within seconds of entering the store.

The team also doesn’t automatically assume that each guest knows what they want. Instead, they take a consultive sales approach by asking whether the customer has something in mind or if they are looking for something new to try.

Filomena’s 22-year-old son Francesco Lies, who began stocking shelves at age 4, says their key to building customer loyalty is working to reinforce a personal connection with every guest on every visit.

Getting to know as many regulars’ names as possible is another goal he learned from his mother. As a third-generation leader in the family business, Francesco encourages their team to genuinely ask every customer how their day is going. By consciously working to project an upbeat, positive vibe to each guest, his team helps further elevate customer mood during their visit.

Francesco is finding that younger collegeage students are particularly curious about various Italian foods, asking him questions like “How would you recommend using pesto?” In fact, he actively encourages their questions, figuring that if they feel comfortable in their curiosity, they will likely keep coming back.

Generation after generation, making each customer feel recognized and appreciated has kept this family business an ongoing success!