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Super King Matriarch Keeps Finances – And More – On Track

Super King Markets
Peter and Mary Fermanian

Last updated on May 12th, 2023 at 01:06 pm

Although her official title with Super King Markets is CFO, Mary Fermanian has done a bit of everything since the company’s start. She and her husband, Peter, along with his brother, Vache, built the business from its original Anaheim location to eight stores in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

She and Peter met through their families in Beirut, Lebanon. They became engaged and were married within six months. She was 22, he was 27.

They left Lebanon due to war and moved to Abu Dhabi, where Peter had found work as an air conditioning technician. Their son Jake was born there. The young family decided to move to the United States to join their families, and soon welcomed another son, Shant.

They settled in Southern California, where Peter continued his work as an A/C technician. The couple shopped each week in Middle Eastern stores and “saw that having a food business is very fascinating.”

Mary Fermanian said her husband noted that “food has no recession” and that even people at war need food. So they decided to get into the food business.

While she had not worked outside the home before, Mary Fermanian became a grocery buyer and drove the trucks while her husband bought produce. She also continued taking care of their two young children, taking them to school, picking them up and attending ball games.

“I never missed a basketball game. I never missed a bank deposit. I never missed an order for my store,” she said. “I put [everything] on the shelves, all the grocery. I do the schematics…I take care of my customers on my registers. At night, I go prepare my deposit for the next day.”

Super King Markets

She made sure everyone – employees and vendors – were paid. For the first 10 years they were in business, Mary Fermanian said she got up at 4 a.m. each day and went to bed at 1 a.m., when her husband would go to the produce market. “Our challenge was a daily challenge,” she said.

For the first three years, they just had one cashier, one butcher and one produce helper to help run the store alongside the family. She said her husband worked almost 24/7. She was able to drop the kids after school with her mother and then return to the store. “When I think about it, I was so blessed with health that God gave that I was able to do it all.”

Mary Fermanian has always handled the company’s finances but now has general managers and a VP of finance to help out. “Thank God, we never had any problems
all these years, even with recessions. I have controlled the cash flow, the financials,” she said.

She shared her pride in her children. Shant, the youngest, also worked at the company as a buyer but decided to pursue law school. He is an attorney with his own firm. 

“But then he chose to pursue his goal, which is being an attorney,” she said. “He went to law school, and he was continuously at the school at that time. He graduated, and he is a successful lawyer now.”

Jake, the older son, is “a huge contributor to Super King’s growth and success.”

“If we go back to 30 years, we were just a mom and pop store,” she said. “But then his thinking, his innovation of technology and inserting that in our company business, with all the competition, challenges and identifying the business opportunities and putting Super King in a different spotlight – he was the reason for it.”

Mary Fermanian said they have overcome many challenges in establishing and growing Super King Markets. 

“When you start thinking and have big goals…all the challenges in 30 years brought us here. We catered internationally; it was our goal. We kept with the innovations, with the technology system, with the vendor relations and employee labor challenges and growing together as a team.”

For more information about the company, visit superkingmarkets.com.

To view the full anniversary section on Super King Markets presented by The Shelby Report, click here.

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