Historical Looks Retail Food Stores on Martha's Vineyard Part 2
This is another installment in our series on Martha’s Vineyard’s food history based on oral histories found in the Vineyard’s Museum archive located Edgartown, Massachusetts. The stories are based on oral histories of people raised on the island. We share them along with how to be a culinary entrepreneur tips and takeaways.
Barber Allen Mederios was born in 1903. She grew up on Martha’s Vineyard on a family farm. She had this to say about the relationship between her family and the store they use the purchase food staples. Her father would generally go to the store early on a Saturday morning with a horse and team and do the shopping at Sam Cronig’s store located on Main Street in vineyard Haven once a week. In those days you bought things in bulk and if you couldn’t haul it home yourself they would send somebody out to deliver it to the house. She describes Cronig as a nice man who always helped poor people in need. So how do you obtain customers when you operate a community store like Mr. Cronig’s? Here are some takeaways: have giveaways in your store for your customers in which they can sample products that use stock and sell. In the summertime eliminate made by fresh picked lemons or lemonade mix that you sell. You are what your employees provide samples of popsicles and/or ice cream that you selling your store. In the wintertime have hot tea, coffee, or cider on hand that people can self serve into small paper cups. Greet people with a smile when they come in your door make eye contact with the and acknowledge that you see them and appreciate them coming in. Keep your eye on them that they look like they need help offered to them or at the very least let them know you’re available to help them find products that would help them. The easy to get along with the kind of person someone would want to hire. Sponsor local youth sports teams and get your logo on the team’s uniform. Have a well located bulletin board where people can share their business cards or perhaps for you post a quote of the day or favorite reading list for people can suggest books that they’ve read and enjoyed. If you have the room create a parlor like space where people can sit down talk and catch up. Generally, be more than just a store be a destination where people want to hang out.