With Same Italian Cook, Salem Food Market Making Changes
Fred Zagami, the market's owner since 2010, tries to attract families through a new Magic Night every Wednesday.
The hard job for any small business owner is spreading the word to not only attract new customers, but let old ones know about new happenings.
Take Salem Food Market for instance.
Fred Zagami, 36, purchased the Washington Street market in 2010 and immediately extended the market's hours to 8 p.m.
"Some people still don't know we are open at night," Zagami said. "You drive by, and people see there isn't a lot of parking, they'll drive by. We're working on that right now."
Zagami is working with nearby landlords to share parking, he said.
The most important part of the Italian market, however, Zagami kept the same - the home-cooked meals prepared by Lina Ballarano, an elderly Italian woman with all the recipes.
"The way she cooks at home is the way she cooks here," Zagami said of Ballarano.
With a fresh look, a new big screen television, Zagami, a Roslindale resident, is trying to extend the market's reach beyond the usual crowd of patrons that have marched through the doors for the past 26 years and the cops and court clerks that often visit during their lunch hour.
The market continues to deliver and offer catering, and he's trying to pull in families keeping an eye on the purse strings.
While several establishments offer trivia or karoake nights, Zagami has brought in a different feature presentation: Magic Night.
Every Wednesday - this last one being the second - magician John Henry performs tricks aimed at kids, but even adults enjoy, Zagami said. He offers kids a meal for $3.99.
"It's still an Italian place, but to get more variety of people in here, I had to do some different things," he said. "That's to bring them in, and hopefully they come back."
He tries to get out Salem's name through Facebook, and reaches out to repeat customers with the day's specials through email, but with a limited budget he said it's difficult to spread the word.
"I'm just trying to carry on the good name, the good reputation," he said.