Marc Wallerce opened the doors to his Winthrop Marketplace at the site of a former building for the townâ€™s Water Department, on June 2, 1999. Fifteen years later the Marketplace is still going strong and delivering its best to its customers seven days a week.
And itâ€™s been customer loyalty and community support that has allowed the Marketplace to survive and thrive in a supermarket industry that is known for its competitiveness.
â€œWe have survived on listening to our customers, listening to our employees, talking to our vendors â€“ CNS Wholesalers is the biggest in the United States,â€ said Wallerce. â€œCNS has been wonderful to us.â€
Wallerce said storeâ€™s support extends beyond the customer base and into the community. He cites the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce â€œfor supporting us to the fullest.â€
Besty Shane, executive director of the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce, said the Marketplace has been an outstanding member of the organization.
â€œWeâ€™re incredibly honored to have them as both members and also for what they do for the community,â€ said Shane. â€œItâ€™s fantastic they are celebrating their 15th anniversary. But itâ€™s also that they contribute so much to the community. Theyâ€™re hiring kids in the community and theyâ€™re contribute and donate to a number of our Chamber events as well as other non-profit organizationâ€™s events. You couldnâ€™t ask for better customer service, appreciation for the community or thankfulness to the community. Weâ€™re very proud to help them celebrate their anniversary.â€
The Marketplace is well known for assisting youth sports programs, the Boy Scouts, the Parks and Recreation Department, and other organizations. The Marketplace allows local groups to set up tables in front of the store to sell their raffles or items and raise funds. It is currently working on a fundraiser with the Music Matters organization.
â€œWhen you help out local groups, you feel like a fixture in the community, part of the fabric of the community,â€ said Wallerce. â€œPeople come in to the Marketplace, not only to shop but to see their friends and meet other people.â€
Wallerce has built a professional, customer-friendly team consisting of local residents who have contributed to the success of the business since its inception. He noted the stellar contributions from the beginning by managers Karen Higginbotham and Frank Carideo and other leaders such as Kevin Miccichi, Brian Macrina (who had a tryout with a Major League Baseball organization), Theppi Carideo, Antonetta Polcaro, Sue Hughes, Michael Miccichi, Taryn Laurino, Robby Pumphret, his wife, Sherry Wallerce, and his son, Chris Wallerce.
â€œThese individuals have been integral parts of our business,â€ said Wallerce. â€œWe meet once or twice a week to exchange thoughts and ideas. I think the Marketplace is more of a team than an ownership business. You can start a business but you canâ€™t follow through on a business unless people come to your store and you listen to your customers.â€
Wallerce said he frequently sees residents from Revere and East Boston in his store. Chelsea residents are also making the short trip to the Marketplace.
â€œThe Marketplace has really become almost like a household name,â€ said Wallerce. â€œI think weâ€™ve accomplished it with great customer service. We try to make every customer feel special.â€
One thing that Wallerce takes particular pride in is the hiring of Winthrop students to work in the store.
â€œWe work around our studentsâ€™ extracurricular schedules,â€ said Wallerce. â€œWe want to keep our students doing constructive things and give them their first job taste of what the real world is about. Thatâ€™s very important to us.â€
Above us all else, Wallace said that he, his wife, Sherry, and store managers Higginbotham and Carideo would like to say thank you.
â€œWe would like to thank the town of Winthrop for supporting us for 15 years and we hope to have many more years in this great community.â€