A longtime grocer appreciates the warm reception.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKYand DON SHILLING
VINDICATOR BUSINESS STAFF
McDONALD -- Residents of this small Trumbull County village are celebrating the opening of a new full-service grocery store on Ohio Avenue, the first to operate here for several years.
"We're really excited about it here," said Char McCracken, office manager at the village administration building and a McDonald resident. "It seems like it's been forever since we've had our own grocery store."
Rulli Family Foods, which opened last Tuesday, is owned by a group of Rulli family members who used to operate Rulli Bros. Market on South Avenue in Boardman and, more recently, on Lockwood Boulevard in Boardman.
Another group of Rulli family members now owns and operates the South Avenue store under the name Rulli Bros. Boardman, along with Rulli Bros. Market-West in Austintown.
Anthony Rulli, one of the owners of the McDonald store, said he's pleased with the welcome he has received from village officials, residents and his landlord, the Cafaro Co.
"People have responded very favorably," he said.
Rulli said the Lockwood Boulevard store, which is smaller, was closed recently so he could devote his attention to the McDonald store. He said he intends to reopen it soon.
The McDonald store offers a full line of groceries but specializes in Italian foods, fresh meat, deli items and produce. Rulli said sections for hot food and beer and wine will be added soon. He also is nearly ready to begin offering party trays and gift baskets.
The store employs about 20 full-time and part-time workers.
Village officials have been trying to bring a grocer to McDonald since the last grocery store, Scott Family Foods, closed several years ago. Before that, the store space had been occupied by a family-owned grocery store for about 30 years.
A nearby bank building was also vacant until Home Savings and Loan opened a branch there earlier this year.
Glenn Holmes, president pro tem of village council, said he contacted the Rulli family about a year ago to suggest they open a store in McDonald.
"They found out McDonald is a hidden treasure," he said. "They're impressed with the town, and the people here are extremely excited about having a quality grocery store."
McDonald's population has grown some since the last grocery store left town -- 2000 census figures list its population at 3,481 -- and Holmes said he's confident that people will support the new store.