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Old 04-07-2016, 08:06 AM   #1
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Looking for opinions on what to stock in my deli

Hey, all! Just to catch up a bit on what I have been up to. I have bought the deli and meat shop I have been working at. We took over last month. I am planning to add a few more shelves and bring in some imported type food products. Right now, I am going to start with non perishable items like jarred, canned and dried products until we generate a more regular clientele. I am looking at leaning towards European, mainly Italian type products. Gluten free, anti pastas, cooking sauces, pickled and marinated, etc..more specialty items that are not available in the area. I'm putting the shelves in next week and will be making my first order from an Italian importer shortly after that....exciting!

So, fire away. What kinds of products do you look for when shopping in specialty shops? How much are you willing to spend on these products if they are unique and/or only available in your area? Thanks!

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Old 04-07-2016, 08:18 AM   #2
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Exciting news!!!

We have a couple of stores in our area that stock homemade frozen entrees, for classic dishes, everything from lasagna to beans and greens.

Also how about some cooking equipment when you get rolling. If you sell the ingredients and do some in store demonstrations you might be able to sell some pasta machines, espresso makers, imported utensils, etc...

Don't forget to stress the availability of gift certificates and be sure to set up a FB page so the local's know what's going on.

Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:20 AM   #3
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Jarred Italian anchovies. I think I'm paying $4 for a small jar. I can only find the cheap tinned anchovies (Cento) in the supermarkets.

There is a local take out establishment that does a pretty good business in fresh pastas. Some of the filled ones are frozen.
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:25 AM   #4
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Have you determined the demographics of the folks in your area? How was the business before you bought it? Did any of the regular customers offer suggestions of what they would like to see in the store, product wise. BTW, you are now married! Some advice, never try to be an "absentee" owner. You will get stolen blind. Seen it happen to other businesses. Good luck in your venture!
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:46 AM   #5
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One of the local kitchen stores sells a variety of olive oils. They are sold from bulk containers and the customers use refillable bottles. I've seen this in a couple of other areas as well.
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rocklobster View Post
Hey, all! Just to catch up a bit on what I have been up to. I have bought the deli and meat shop I have been working at. We took over last month. I am planning to add a few more shelves and bring in some imported type food products. Right now, I am going to start with non perishable items like jarred, canned and dried products until we generate a more regular clientele. I am looking at leaning towards European, mainly Italian type products. Gluten free, anti pastas, cooking sauces, pickled and marinated, etc..more specialty items that are not available in the area. I'm putting the shelves in next week and will be making my first order from an Italian importer shortly after that....exciting!

So, fire away. What kinds of products do you look for when shopping in specialty shops? How much are you willing to spend on these products if they are unique and/or only available in your area? Thanks!
The French butter with large salt crystals in it (Isigny?). I know it's bad for you in all directions but it really is delicious on jacket potatoes or boiled new/baby potatoes, toast, (english)muffins, etc.

It's OK, I don't expect you to really stock it.

Seriously, what about home-made cakes? We have a deli in the village which has cakes made by a couple of "housewives" rather than the deli staff. Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness cake or a really good, buttery, lemon drizzle cake, meringues with fruit and cream ......And then I wonder why I'm putting on weight!
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:58 AM   #7
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Congratulations Roch! I sometimes look for fresh specialty items such as guanciale or pancetta, real prosciutto de Parma or San Danielle.

For non-perishables, I'd look for the harder to get, higher quality version of stuff like capers, anchovies, oils, balsamics, etc.

Sounds like you're going to have some fun. Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:14 AM   #8
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Looking for opinions on what to stock in my deli

Congratulations, Rock! That's so exciting!

Maybe take a look at some of the Little Italy deli sites, like the one in Philly. Can't remember the name, but they had some delicious stuff. One thing I really loved there was their little fresh mozzarella balls that were wrapped around a little pickled pepper. They were stored in a big jar of water. They made their moz fresh daily. My brother bought them for us, but I think they charged around $1 per bite-size ball.
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Old 04-07-2016, 11:20 AM   #9
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This is terrific news and I'm really happy for you!!!

I know that Trader Joe's isn't in Canada, but it's my favorite specialty food store and much can be learned from the kind of products they offer, naturally on a small scale in your case. There are several threads here about TJ's, and lots of other info on line.
I only hope you have time to keep us posted on your exciting new chapter in your life, and good luck!!
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Old 04-07-2016, 12:18 PM   #10
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TJ's is a great idea for inspiration, Kay.
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Old 04-07-2016, 01:15 PM   #11
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Seriously, what about home-made cakes? We have a deli in the village which has cakes made by a couple of "housewives" rather than the deli staff. Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness cake or a really good, buttery, lemon drizzle cake, meringues with fruit and cream ......And then I wonder why I'm putting on weight!
One of my former neighbors owns a few gas station / convenience stores, and did a good business with locally sourced pies and cookies. He couldn't get enough pies around Thanksgiving or Christmas. Doesn't fit in to the non-perishable category, but something to consider at some point.
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Old 04-07-2016, 01:16 PM   #12
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Thanks, everybody. I will follow up on your suggestions.(in the evenings when I get home and have a chance to sit down). We don't have a web site but we are on FB for those who dare venture into that fray.. https://www.facebook.com/LakeviewDeliMeatery/

Here is the add in the local rag when we took over..
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Old 04-07-2016, 01:26 PM   #13
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Just took a gander at your business FB page. Your meat counter is totally drool-worthy. What a great selection!
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Old 04-07-2016, 01:30 PM   #14
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Just took a gander at your business FB page. Your meat counter is totally drool-worthy. What a great selection!
Thanks. It's a pretty limited selection this time of year. We add another shelf as the weather gets warmer and bbq season fires up.(bad pun.). We keep things pretty simple and stick to the things that sell consistently
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Old 04-07-2016, 01:32 PM   #15
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Congratulations, worthy of tooting your own whistle on this, Roch!

LavAzza (brand) espresso coffee. Sub-title on the can is "Italy's favorite coffee". I know lots of people like to grind their own beans, but this stuff is really good. Bonus, the 8 oz cans don't take up a lot of space and you really don't need to sell any other espresso. And I hope for its price, it includes a big mark-up for you!

Do you have room for an olive bar? A local Italian deli doesn't have as huge a display as supermarket, but still offers many kinds to choose. You could include a tray of peppadews in there too, they aren't as easy to find elsewhere.

Some good sauces, fresh or jarred. Some pesto and alfredo for alternatives to red sauce.

Include mascarpone and fresh ricotta in your cheese area.

Some good chocolate, candy, cocoa, or bars for baking.

Pizza dough balls for the home-made- bread challenged people like me.
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:00 PM   #16
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Your deli is larger than I visualized. I mostly remember you talking about fresh meats at various times, and I was thinking it was more a meat market/ to-go deli.

Good reader reviews on your FB page. Congratulations again.
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:12 PM   #17
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Congrasts, Roch! Here in Ottawa, I like to hit Grace in the Kitchen for some of those specialty items (pickled green peppercorns, etc.). Next time you're in Kanata, drop in. GITK is located on Hazeldean between Eagleson and Terry Fox, across from Farm Boy and the LCBO. Love their selection of cheeses. Check out the frozen section, too.
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Old 04-07-2016, 07:11 PM   #18
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Congrasts, Roch! Here in Ottawa, I like to hit Grace in the Kitchen for some of those specialty items (pickled green peppercorns, etc.). Next time you're in Kanata, drop in. GITK is located on Hazeldean between Eagleson and Terry Fox, across from Farm Boy and the LCBO. Love their selection of cheeses. Check out the frozen section, too.
Thanks! I've been down that road many times and never knew of GITK. We're heading to Hendrix tomorrow to buy a toaster. I'll check it out on my way back..thanks
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:13 PM   #19
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Congratulations, Roch. Or deepest sympathies. Your choice, depending on how things are going for you from day to day. No matter what, I'm wishing you great success.

Since it seems like the Mediterranean diet is gaining popularity every day, you might want to consider some shelf-staple goods from the other side of the water. Jars of Kalamata olives or grape leaves, if your clientele would buy them. I think no one mentioned the good Italian tuna that is packed in olive oil. That would probably sell.

I like the idea of local home bakers having you showcase their goodies, if you do that. Just make sure the bakers are up-to-date on any code they might need to bake their goods at home.

Again, good luck. Hope you have time to keep us updated on how things are working out for you.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:20 PM   #20
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RL, I just wanted to add that the brilliant smiles you and Winona have in that picture says it all...hope, excitement, and determination. Discouragement may come down the road, but always remember you're living the dream!!
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