Having grown up in the 70s and 80s, I am a big fan of “mom & pops.” I think it’s safe to say that around this time period the super market, corporate chains and the mega department stores started gaining in popularity. The mom & pops had to compete with these huge conglomerates whose buying power meant that they could lower their prices to a place that few could compete against.
Is that a a bad thing? Not necessarily. Evolve or die. Adapt and persevere. Learn and grow. Americans were more than pleased to be able to save a bunch of money with which they could spend on more important things. The convenience of going to one place for virtually everything is an attractive one. How do you compete with convenience and huge savings, right? It’s a formula that worked.
For a while. At some point while we were enjoying these savings and conveniences we started realizing it was at a price – pardon the pun. The savings that these giant stores favored extended to employees which meant it was hard to preserve friendly, warm and welcoming customer service. Since the employees had less loyalty they didn’t expect to stay long and that meant just when someone became an experienced expert at their job, the would move on. There really is no replacing this passion.
Lately, I’ve been noticing a resurgence of the mom and pop and with it a return to the passionate, experienced and knowledgeable clerk; a place where there was not only a warm and genuine greeting, but one that utilized your name and knew your history with the store. They knew what you would be wanting, the way you would want it, and you would get some small or “big” talk. Are the prices lower? Perhaps not. There has to be a trad-off somewhere and I guess it comes down to whether you are in the camp that you wouldn’t mind paying a little more for these sort of things.
One of those places that make it easy to fall in love with is Rochester’s Lloyd’s Market at 4 Hartley Road. What you get at Lloyd’s is an entire staff of people that absolutely are thrilled to be there. This mini supermarket might me smaller than a massive chain supermarket, but they really put an emphasis on the “super” part. If you are a foodie, practice the lost art of cooking, a BBQ enthusiast or just the type of person that wants fresh, local food instead of something picked before it’s ripe so it survives a road trip, then you will be wanting to make a visit.
New owner Dan Costa relocated to Rochester a year ago from the hustle and bustle of the North Shore where he owned an operated a similar store from 1996-2014 – just shy of 20 years. How serious is he about this career move? He sold his home, moved his wife and business partner Carrie, and their two children, Grace and Julia, to Rochester to continue his love affair. He sought out somewhere that locals knew well and when he discovered Lloyd’s and found out that the market had been started by Lloyd Vaughan in the 50s, before being taken over by another local in the 90s, he felt like all the stars had aligned.
“I have always loved operating a store and I take tremendous pride in what I do. I want the people in the area to think of my store as a personable experience as well as the best place to shop for the freshest and highest quality of meats, produce and other foods- whatever they may need. If I don’t currently have something they can rest assured I will get it for them.”
The first thing Dan did was headhunt for those who shared his passion, experience, and knowledge. In that pursuit he assembled a Dream Team of local experts that combine well over 75 years of experience to separate them from any competitor big or small. All the specialty foods in the deli are made from scratch, not shipped. The butcher shop which is run by Old Colony alumnus, and culinary school graduate, Zac Savaria, is ready for any custom cut you can throw at him. If you are local, you know Zac’s face – he’s been at Lloyd’s for the past ten years after a foray in the restaurant business. He puts all that experience into preparing their very popular and mouth watering, prepared dinner meals.
Speaking of which they will be offering fresh turkeys and any special cut of meat such as tenderloin roast, prime rib, lamb, hams, etc. You can pre-order this Thanksgiving’s dinner and they will provide you with a fully cooked meal with all the sides for a very reasonable price. Imagine a full Thanksgiving meal where you could just focus on spending time with family and friends?
His sister, Hannah, also an alumnus of Old Colony, is Dan’s “other right hand.” She has been at Lloyd’s for over 15 years and her knowledge of the food business and overall actual customer knowledge is second to no one.
Head chef Janine Lord came from a long career in catering and spends 25-30 hours a week in the kitchen making everything, and we mean everything, from scratch. You know those restaurants you watch on TV and the staff talk about how they make the bread after grinding the flour for it? That’s Jan. This is something that Dan and Jan have a tremendous amount of pride in as they feel strongly that this makes Lloyd’s different. Homemade meat pies, daily made soups, prepared meals, sandwiches for lunch that were just made an hour or two before, fruit pies, pastries, and more – all made right there in-house.
Meat cutter Steven Rittenhouse can cut anything at night and on Sunday afternoons – though Lloyd’s always has a butcher in the store, Steven brings his extra technical expertise to the proverbial table – while some markets don’t always have a a butcher present during their peak times, Lloyd’s does. That means you can get any cut, at any time. Steven went to Bristol-Agi and owns a farm locally where he grows everything, harvests it and bring’s it to Lloyd’s. You are getting produce that was picked that morning, not shipped 3-4 days ago.
Rounding out the staff and the very face of Lloyd’s are the warm smiles of the main night clerks, Kathy Bobrowiecki and Carol-lynn Brown who have both been a part of Lloyd’s for years. You will be hard pressed to find better customer service anywhere let alone a box store.
Lloyd’s provides superlative service, custom cuts, prepared meals, artisanal products, freshly harvested produce, a great selection of wines and craft beers, and more in the “old school” way that we all fell in love with during the “golden era” of the mom and pop. If that sounds like something you’d want in your life, take a trip back in “time” and visit Lloyd’s – where their word is bond and the customer is always right.
4 Hartley Rd
Phone: (508) 763-5673