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Monroeville

Ferri's IGA boosted by closing of McGinnis Sisters specialty grocery

Dillon Carr
| Thursday, March 8, 2018, 2:21 p.m.

The loss of one small independent grocery store has been a gain for another in the area.

Business has been booming at Ferri's IGA Supermarket since the owners of McGinnis Sisters Special Food Store nearby in Monroeville announced they were closing this month.

“We ran out of ground meat on Tuesday — that's usually our slowest day,” Gary Silvestri, Ferri's store manager, said last week. “Business has definitely picked up.”

Silvestri said he is planning to carry some of the speciality items the McGinnis Sisters store used to sell.

McGinnis Sisters announced in February that it was closing its last two stores in Monroeville and Brentwood. Markdown sales that started this month have cleared most of the aisles and shelves in the Monroeville store. The only items left late last week were dried goods and some refrigerated drinks.

“The first items to go … were the meats, seafood, the deli, the bakery and produce,” said Carl Pursh, the store's director of meat and seafood.

The few customers roaming the aisles said they're not sure where they'll go when their favorite store closes for good. The store will remain open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until all the food is gone, Pursh said.

Michele Puzzanchera said that even before moving to Monroeville two years ago, she would make the drive from Churchill to shop at the market offering speciality foods before they became the rage. But now that might change.

“I don't know where I'll go. I guess I'll make the drive to Trader Joe's and the Strip,” Puzzanchera said.

Elizabeth Lee said she used to shop at stores like Trader Joe's and Costco when she lived in the Chicago area. Lee moved to Monroeville with her wife and two children eight months ago.

“I'm going to have to hit up Google and see what's around here,” she said.

The company was started in Baldwin 71 years ago by Elwood McGinnis. The most recent owners — McGinnis sisters, Noreen Campbell, Sharon Young and Bonnie Vello — said competition from large stores forced them to rethink plans to pass the business on to the next generation of the family. The sisters closed a third store in Mars in January.

Chris Mascaro, 59, has worked and shopped at McGinnis Sisters in Monroeville for 40 years. The market's deli team leader said she started as a cashier working part time. “It's kind of hard, you know? It's very sad,” she said.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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