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Author Topic: Remembering Guido's Supermarket Southington, CT 1972-1986  (Read 98 times)
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Brammy
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« on: October 25, 2017, 05:12:22 PM »

This year is the 150th Anniversary of the Meriden Record-Journal newspaper. Online today an in-print tomorrow is an article about Guido's Supermarket an independent supermarket that operated on Main Street (Route 10) in Southington from 1972-1986. Today Dollar Tree (formerly Family Dollar) operates their second Southington location in the space. A Chinese Restaurant and Domino's Pizza are also in the building. I don't know if Guido's was in that part of the building or not. 2 years after Guido's closed part of the space became a CVS. After CVS moved to a free-standing location on the site of a former Ford Dealership on another section of Main Street, Blockbuster Video relocated in the building from a location on the Queen Street side of Route 10. (Their space there I believe is now Mattress Firm).

FROM MYRECORDJOURNAL.COM

RJ 150: Remembering Guido’s Supermarket in downtown Southington
By Jesse Buchanan, Record-Journal staff

SOUTHINGTON – New owners of the Family Dollar plaza said they have improvements planned for the area where downtown’s last supermarket once operated.

Guido’s Supermarket, owned by Guido Giantonio, was a downtown landmark for 14 years until it closed in the summer of 1986.

For most of that time, the building was owned by the Forgione family. In January 1986, the landlords raised Giantonio’s rent 400 percent which nearly closed the business then. A week after, though, another company bought the building and established a more affordable rent.

The reprieve prompted a message in the store windows along Main Street announcing the store’s grand re-opening. “Southington we love you,” it read.

But even with public support and high sales following the closure announcement, by the summer of 1986 Giantonio told the Record-Journal he still couldn’t make the business work in the face of competition from larger grocery stores. Residents used Guido’s for convenience items but did the bulk of their shopping elsewhere.

“If people are going to do their weekly shopping at Food Mart or Edward’s and then stop here for a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread, you can’t make it,” Giantonio said told the Record-Journal at the time of his store’s closing.

His inventory went to his Coventry supermarket. Giantonio later took a job with Highland Park Market in Manchester. The building next became a CVS pharmacy, then a Blockbuster video store, before the current Family Dollar store.

Local developer Mark Lovley partner Anthony Valenti, a real estate broker from Newington, recently bought the Main Street plaza from the Forgione family. Lovley and Valenti purchased the properties at 200 Main St. for $1.325 million and 164 Main St. for $175,000 from the Forgione Corp.

Lovley said he'll be making improvements to the buildings, whose tenants include a Dollar Tree store, Domino's Pizza, Hong Kong Kitchen and Pizza House. The purchase of those buildings wasn't connected to a nearby condominum project that has been under consideration since the 1980s for Forgione Drive.

Earlier this month, the houses on Forgione Drive were demolished to make way for the project which includes luxury townhouses and condos.

Art Secondo, former Town Councilor and former Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce president, said Giantonio and his wife Dolly were always seen in the store. The owner took pride that his name was on the building and could be seen stocking shelves, bagging groceries or talking with customers.

“He was a hands-on type of guy,” Secondo said. “Him and his wife were just gracious, wonderful people.”

Giantonio was always upbeat and if business wasn’t good Secondo said customers would never have known.

Guido’s also offered more than some other town supermarkets with Secondo describing it as a “mini Stop & Shop.”

Along with Guido’s, the town also had Sal’s Market on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike run by Salvatore Dominello who died in 2010 at the age of 84. Top’s Market, run by John Salerno, has stayed in business as an independent grocery store on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike.

Salerno, who bought Top’s in 1979, said the town had a host of small grocery stores including Berkley Market, Pickwick, Taylor’s Market and Tony’s Cash and Carry. For some years though Guido’s was “top dog” due to how tenaciously Giantonio worked.

“He had a lot of connections in the grocery industry when connections still mattered,” Salerno said. “Guido fought hard.”

Like the other grocers, chain stores cut deeply into Giantonio’s customer base. Without constantly changing and marketing, it’s difficult to stay afloat according to Salerno.

He described Giantonio as a “gentleman” and a good store operator.

jbuchanan@record-journal.com
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Brammy
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