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Big M Supermarket Setting Weekly Sales Records For Licari

by John McCurry, contributing writer
Licari family
Carmen Licari, left, is the owner and his son, Nicholas Licari, is the manager of Big M Supermarket in Dolgeville, New York.

Carmen Licari’s first taste of the grocery business came as a young kid, working in his parents’ store in New York. Now 71, Licari proudly proclaims he’s been in the business for 65 years. 

The owner of Big M Supermarket in Dolgeville, New York, he is a third-generation grocer. His son, Nicholas, who manages the store, continues the family tradition. 

“He [Nicholas] is doing the best job of all of us,” Licari said.

Working 50 to 60 hours per week, the elder Licari heads to his store around 6 each morning and works till 6 p.m. He loves the business, saying it keeps him going. 

At one time during his grocery career, he owned four stores. He hopes to add another store at some point. 

“I enjoy the people, and we have a great crew,” he said.

Dolgeville is a small village with a population of about 2,100 in Central New York, about 80 miles northwest of Albany. Big M is the largest store in town, Licari said. The nearest competitor is about six miles away. 

Licari son
Nicholas Licari, right, and Jay Countryman, a longtime employee of Big M.

The 16,500-square-foot store, which employs 32, offers a full-service deli and bakery, and according to Licari, a “beautiful” produce department. 

Due to the pandemic, sales at Big M have been brisk to say the least. It has broken weekly sales records every week since early March. And there’s no end in sight. 

“It’s still going,” Licari said. “A lot of people said it would slow down. [Other stores] gave pay increases and then took them back. We have given bonuses to our people, based on what increase we had from the month before.”

For the most part, there have been no serious supply-chain issues. There has, however, been fluctuation in beef prices due to issues at processing plants. For example, ground chuck soared to $4.60 per pound, but recently dropped back to $2.60 per pound.

Exceptional service is how Big M differentiates itself, according to Licari. This includes delivery. The store accepts phone or fax orders for delivery or pickup.Licari Big M produce

Regardless of how the pandemic plays out in the coming months, Licari exudes optimism about the remainder of 2020. 

“Right now, we are blowing the record right off,” he said. “It’s been crazy. If we keep giving the service and quality that we have been doing, I’m sure we are going to keep the business. We haven’t lost any so far.”

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