Luke, Nick and Anna Masiero are ready to juggle the needs of Guido's Fresh Marketplace.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The future of Guido's Fresh Marketplace has been assured with a new generation preparing to take on the family business.
Chris and Matt Masiero started with a roadside produce stand in 1979 on Route 7 in Pittsfield with a $2,500 loan from their father — after whom the store is named — and shuttled fresh produce from Chelsea Market in Boston.
Forward 44 years and two grocery stores later, the brothers are looking at retirement and to handing off the enterprise they've built to their children Luke and Nick (Matt's sons) and Anna (Chris' daughter).
"I would say I'm excited to see what our minds from a different generation can bring to the store as well," Nick Masiero said recently during a photo shoot to introduce the new Guido's team to the store's patron.
"We have all these great things that they started and we'll carry on forever, but also some new age things that we want to bring in. I'm excited to look into that."
The Masieros' two stores in Great Barrington and Pittsfield employ approximately 300 people and feature about 150 local vendors who provide healthy and specialty food for their patrons.
The next generation has already started to build upon the foundation laid by their fathers with new additions and renovations at the Great Barrington store.
These include the new Café Rena, which is projected to open by the end of March.
The cafe will provide a place to gather and enjoy a positive vibe while having a meal in a newly renovated beautiful space, Anna said.
"[Chris and Matt] got excited for the beginning of Guido's … and now we have that in this bran- new renovation in a way," she said. "I work in the deli, and I love the people I work with. We have an amazing chef Bob Turner, who has impressed me so far. So I'm excited for people to come in, get food and sit in the cafe, which I hope I can bring a really positive great vibe to it. So that's what I want to do. That's what I'm excited about."
They renovated the Pittsfield marketplace in 2015, adding a couple of amenities, including a cafe, while the Great Barrington was considered the "mom and pop, old-timey vibe," Nick said.
Both of the stores provide an old-world marketplace vibe and the renovations to the Great Barrington location are bringing what they already offer to the Pittsfield location in a larger square footage.
"I've actually had customers say they prefer the tightness of Pittsfield over the wider aisles of Great Barrington. I mean, this store is a 40,000 square foot store and Pittsfield is 25,000 square feet. So you have the same products in a different square footage. So that to me feels like it has an old world feel to it as well," Chris said.
The fact that they are able to have a second generation is fortunate for the Masierios' legacy. Chris said he knows a lot of business owners who do not have that opportunity because their children are not interested in leading and furthering their businesses.
Matt has confidence that the next generation of leaders will carry on what he and Chris have built the last 45 years and hopes they continue their work in community service.
Even after they eventually retire, they will always be there to help and guide their children when they come to run the marketplace on their own.
The passion that the brothers have for the market is what inspired their children to take over when they retire. The decision was an organic one that was made without pressure, Nick said.
Their fathers allowed them to learn in their own ways and take their own paths in life. They worked in the store growing up and they considered it a fun place where they would be able to see their cousins and family members.
The brothers' passion is ingrained in the walls and demonstrated in the quality of the merchandise on the shelves of both their stores.
"I think the example both of these guys set every day, from how they work, how they communicate with people, the passion that bleeds out of them for the stores. It is contagious," Luke said.
"And you can see from the outside looking in, but when you're embedded in it … Anyone can buy crackers and put them on the shelf but we really have people that are going to shows looking at all these new different products and they find a passion in it, too."
This atmosphere that the brothers have set has created a positive working environment for the workers and is reflected in the products and services that they provide, they said.
"What Matt and I have left was beyond my wildest imagination. I never thought that I would ever be in this position that I'm in. Selling the types of quality products that we sell. Having the type of customer base that we have. It's amazing," Chris said.
The consumer today has changed substantially in terms of their preference toward locally grown food, he said.
"What has changed is everybody wants their food coming from a certain radius from where they live … that to me is sharing in the growth of the community, because we're all supporting one another," Chris said.
Berkshire County has a lot of great farmers that often go under appreciated, Matt said.
"We're very fortunate to have these younger people who are farming and they don't get the recognition that they deserve. I just hope they make enough money to continue," Matt said. "That's my biggest fear that they don't make enough money to keep going. We got to make sure that they keep going."
The market gets applications from local vendors weekly because of how it is known for its specialty and local products, Anna said.
The stores also house three tenants — Bella Flora, owned by their sister and brother-in-law Annie and Chris Whalen; Mazzeo's Meat and Seafood owned by Mike, Mark and Rudy Mazzeo, and, most recently, the Chef Shop, owned by Rob Navariono.
Thes partnerships provide the patrons a one-stop shop for cooking appliances, flowers, knick-knacks, meats, cheeses, and more.
"When you love what you do, you put one foot in front of the other every single day, you come to work, and you make it happen. You know, things go your way," Matt said. "And I know I can speak for my brother, too, on that. Every day that I get up I look forward to coming into work. I really do. After 45 years, it's amazing. I feel blessed."
Chris agreed with this sentiment adding that they are continuing to build something great
at their Great Barrington location and continuing their expansion with their kids.
"We're building something really unique here in Great Barrington. I don't think there's anything like it around, especially when we finish. But the quality of the products that we have, the services that we provide, the vendors that are here, you're not going to find better products anywhere," Chris said
"I think that's what attracts a lot of people as well. So we're really creating something special. And I know that these guys, the three of them together, will bring it even a step further. So it's gonna be great."
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Construction Grant Changes No Longer Align with Berkshire Atheneum's Goals
By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass — The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has adjusted this round of its construction grant program, no longer aligning with the Berkshire Athenaeum's goals.
This grant round is really no longer a renovation program, library Director Alex Reczkowski said during a trustees meeting last week.
Interested applicants need at least two locations that they would be interested in pursuing as possible libraries or locations, not just the current library, he said. Acceptance of the award is once every 30 years.
Although the library has some physical upgrades to the building in its strategic plan, it does not have enough data for a bigger project than that, Reczkowski said.