By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,682)
Paul Trusiani has been working in and around grocery stores since he was a teenager. It’s been a few years since he was a teen-ager (he won’t say how many!), and he’s still in the grocery store business: he owns Paul’s, at 585 Congress Street, a popular, grocery store in downtown Portland.
“I think there’s room for another competitor like Market Basket. I don’t think they came to Biddeford not to open another store in Maine. The next logical step is Portland. It needs to be by I- 95. It could acquire an existing and completed store – like Shaw’s. Shaw’s has changed hands two or three times in the recent past – this would be yet another change,” said Trusani at his store this morning “I’ve heard this is what is going to happen.”
Last September Market Basket took over a Loew’s in Biddeford, it’s first in Maine. The chain is 75 years old, has 75 stores and its goal is to own 100 stores by the time it is 100 years old according to an employee of the Biddeford store. However, the growth of the chain may have been partially slowed by a lawsuit filed between two principals of the De Moulas family owners of the chain. And its growth may have been slowed due to building problems, which could lead to taking over a Shaw’s store rather than another Loew’s reasoned someone close to the situation. At the beginning of each New Year, the company announces where the chain will expand next. A similar announcement was not forthcoming this year, leaving some employees of the Biddeford store uncertain about the future of the chain.
On a related matter, the Portland Food Co-op recently announced it’s opening a full-service grocery store at 290 Congress Street in September. Co-ops of this kind try to eliminate the middle man said Trusiani. But a store needs the services the middle man provides to finance the product. The Co-op prices for food will have to be higher than its competitors in the area, Trusani added. Trusiani ran his own grocery store in a smaller space at 290 Congress Street from 1980 – to 1990 – than the Portland Food Co-op is planning on opening. Lack of parking at the time was a challenge he could not overcome at the time and did not renew his ten year lease when it expired in 1990. “A Food Co-op is a nutritionally bad idea. If it does well, we won’t be able to afford to eat well,” said Jim Trusani. “I’m 100% invested in the well-being of this man,” he said grinning broadly. Jim is the 53-year old son of Paul.
In an unrelated matter, Jim said that he’d been in New Jersey back on September 9, 2013 on business. He got caught in the infamous traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge – just before noon. It took him 1 l/2 hours to go about eight miles to the Bronx. Jim said he’d been warned to stay off the GW Bridge because of construction in the area anyway. “Until someone can prove Governor Christie knew about the closing, it’s irresponsible to say he had knowledge if he didn’t. I wouldn’t allow this to stop me from voting for him for President.”
585 Congress Street, the present site of Paul’s, was the second Shaws in Maine. On September 29, 1975, Paul purchased the grocery business from Shaws. Several years later, he purchased the building that he still owns. The original Shaws was located on Preble Street. That was shut down to start the one at 585 Congress Street.
“Everyone wants a little piece of the grocery business, so I have to keep on top of things,” said this ageless, respected employer with a good sense of humor as he went back to work. “Come back when you have more time,” he quipped at MHN.com!