CSD: Tedeschi’s Showcases Pride and Tradition
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion
is a summary of an article from Convenience Store Decisions magazine.
other chains may have more stores, few companies can match the rich tradition
and deep roots Tedeschi Food Shops has planted in the convenience store industry.
In business since 1923, the company’s nine decades of service in the New England
market is a distinguishing feature the company wears with pride beginning with
third-generation President and CEO Peter Tedeschi all the way down to the employees
that man the front lines.
“We take great pride in our past, but we are also keenly focused on our
future,” said Mr. Tedeschi, who took the reigns as president and CEO from
Charlie Fitzgibbons in 2008. “That means we are committed to building
the best stores, with the best service and the best value. We’re not looking
to pay lip service to delivering a great retail environment; it’s an important
part of our culture.”
To that end, Tedeschi Food Shops is in the midst
of once again transforming its retail image with a new store design, a thriving
proprietary foodservice program and a growing private label food and beverage
brand. Tedeschi-branded fuels anchor the forecourt.
But Mr. Tedeschi, grandson
of founder Angelo Tedeschi, firmly believes in the company motto, “Proud
of our past, focused on our future.” Angelo
Tedeschi emigrated to the U.S. from Italy before opening his first meat market.
Today, with dozens of franchisee-operated units, the company is providing a
stable business opportunity for a generation of new Americans.
At the same
time, the grandson maintains, it is critical to connect with the younger generation
to ensure the brand remains fresh and relevant. “As
an outsider that is still fairly new to the company’s operations, I have a
keen understanding of the history of the brand. My father, my uncles, my cousins,
and the people that built the company believed in providing a service. They
knew the profits would come, but it was all about the service, so we need to
continually reinforce that message,” he said.
Part of that message can
be traced back to the Great Depression, a time not unlike today, which was
extremely challenging for scores of New England residents, but also an era
that gobbled up businesses and erased corporate fortunes. Angelo Tedeschi kept
the company afloat by extending credit to customers and accepting payment as
the money trickled in to desperate customers. It wasn’t the best of times for
the Tedeschi clan, but doing the right thing for its customers only served
to further enhance the reputation of this family owned business.
“The country was in a bad spot, but my grandfather never thought twice
about helping as much as he could,” Mr. Tedeschi said. “We need to
remind consumers that we have been around since 1923, and we’re still here.
We survived the Great Depression alongside your grandparents and served your
parents, and now it’s our turn to serve you. Proud of our past, focused on
our future. That’s what we’re all about.”
Discussion Questions: What are the advantages as well as the disadvantages
of family-owned retailers, especially those long in existence? What challenges
might they face that would be different than more corporate-driven retailers?