Tedeschi Food Shops is nestled right in the heart of Oakdale Square in Dedham. The store recently recieved a liquor license and Ziad Griege, the owner of the shop, is already seeing a boost in business.
We decided to stop by the shop to speak with Greige, to not only learn a little more about him, but to also see why he loves to work in Dedham!
Patch: Why did you choose to start this business in Dedham?
Ziad: I’ve lived in Dedham for 10 years, and my wife was raised in Dedham as well. It is home to our family. I’ve always wanted to own my business, and having a Tedeschi franchise store was a good choice because they have a great program, and they are very supportive of the small business owner.
I love having a business in my own community, where I can develop relationships with my customers and serve the neighborhood. I am also an active member of the Oakdale Square Alliance, a civic group dedicated to making the Square a vibrant place for the community. I live, work and volunteer in this town.
Patch: What distinguishes your business from others in the same industry?
Ziad: We offer great customer service, a variety of one-stop-shopping merchandise, and we are accessible by foot or by car. This year marks an important highlight in my career, as my store was chosen by Tedeschi Food Shops, Inc. for a remodel which will enhance our offerings to include more healthy food options, limited selection of beer and wine, additional fresh produce options, and a new line of beverage choices including an espresso/coffee bar.
In addition, we will soon be offering packaged meats and cheeses. All of these options will make it possible for a family to stop by and get the convenience foods they expect, as well as all the fixings for a family dinner or items to entertain family and friends.
Physically, the store will be remodeled with wider aisles, a new handicapped accessible entrance, floor to ceiling windows, new paint, signage and lighting, and flower boxes. Overall, this will mark a new look for the retail landscape in Oakdale Square - which is one of the oldest Squares in Dedham. The feedback from the community has been wonderful - lots of neighbors are excited about the transformation. I hope this brings more traffic to the area and the other businesses can benefit too.
Patch: Are there any current challenges you face as a business owner?
Ziad: Two big recent challenges have been the overall economy and more competition, especially from specialty stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, BJs and Costco.
It is tough being a small business owner in a strong economy, so these last 3-4 years have been particularly challenging. To keep current with consumer trends and overcome economic challenges, it is important to evolve and revamp your business with those services and options that people need - like easy to prepare meal choices, and beer and wine for home entertaining.
More and more people are choosing to entertain at home due to the economy and personal finances, so consumers need products that help them do so.
Patch: What's the best business advice you've ever been given?
Ziad: Don’t give up, keep persevering in the face of adversity, and roll with the punches. You have to be able to deal with big blows - like hurricane Irene, power outages and the recession. These things are out of your control as a business person, so you need to put these challenges in perspective and work on those things you have control of, such as how you treat your customers, the products that you sell, and the general retail experience you can provide to your customers. It’s not easy, but I do try and focus my energy on those things I know will have a positive impact on my business.
Patch: What's the best "food" advice you'd give your clients?
Ziad: When selecting your food options, make sure you do look at the expiration dates. Some items are obvious like milk and eggs, but also check those items that are not so obvious like boxed cereals, condiments and canned goods.