Mariano’s Opening Day in Ukrainian Village

You might be wondering why a blog hosted on an iPhone repair site is writing about the opening of a grocery store in Chicago. That’s not what this post is about. Instead, it’s a short story about the man I met as I was leaving the store…

Bob Mariano - Photo Credit to the Chicago Tribune
Bob Mariano – Photo by Chicago Tribune

The story starts when Dominick’s, which had been the local grocery store, closed down and sold to Mariano’s. That was welcome news to the people of Ukrainian Village (the neighborhood I live in in Chicago) with almost the same excitement as a Trader Joe’s opening. People in Chicago love Mariano’s. They frequently have a guy playing a baby grand piano, for God’s sake. How can you not love a grocery store that does that? And then there’s story time for kids and presentations by local farmers. They’re also notorious for incredible customer service – something you don’t often see in a Chicago grocery store chain.

Anyway, this is not an ad for Mariano’s but, if you can’t tell, I was pretty excited to have them coming to my neighborhood. The only problem was the delay. It took from late December until today, March 25, to get the store opened. Three months without a local grocery store was tough.

So when the store opened today, I went down like a pilgrim heading to Mecca. A cold, frigid, snow covered Mecca, but still Mecca. I don’t know if that so much speaks to Mariano’s greatness or the waning excitement in my own life but either way, it was fantastic to walk around the store. Then I grabbed some coffee and just sat in their cafe and caught up on a little blog reading.

Finally got up and started to head towards the front door.

And then I saw him.

Wearing a standard Mariano’s uniform and pushing some carts back to their station. Walking right past unsuspecting shoppers who had no idea of the great man in their midst.

It was Bob Mariano himself.

He wasn’t standing on a podium claiming the greatness of his new store. He wasn’t wearing a sign that said, “Hi, I’m Bob Mariano and I’m the multi-millionaire CEO of this company.” He wasn’t being followed around by a film crew pretending to be “one of the fellas” like those egomaniacal CEO’s that appear on “Undercover Boss”.


He was just pushing empty carts through the store and helping out on opening day.

So that’s what this post is about. The way a CEO should act. The type of CEO I hope I can be someday. The type of CEO that serves both his customers, the employees that help make it all work day-to-day, and the communities they live in. I believe Mariano’s success and popularity is directly related to this kind of work ethic and attitude.

Keep up the great work, Bob!



One thought on “Mariano’s Opening Day in Ukrainian Village

  1. Stewart Howell says:

    Wow, that sounds like an amazing atmosphere. And a great CEO. I appreciate executive staffers who take an interest in knowing what it’s like for their employees, and Bob sounds like a great guy.

    I’d love to hear live music when I shop. When is he coming to Seattle? Hahah.

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