Pursuing your dream of opening an Italian grocery store requires work, patience and perseverance. Start by researching locations and drawing up a business model. Seek investors, research bank loans and develop a niche for marketing to make your dream come true.
Things You Will Need
Location is the key to starting up a successful Italian grocery store. Do your research and find an area where there is nothing to compete with your inventory or services. Your location will need to be a high-traffic area, either foot or vehicle, with plenty of parking.
Create a business model that includes the store location, prospective store size in square footage and ideas for inventory. Investors in your business will want to know why an Italian grocery store will be successful in the area you have chosen.
Secure start-up capital from a bank, investor or lending institution. This money will be needed for rent, furniture, equipment and inventory. Consider applying for lines of credit as well. This can be done through a business credit card or by making an agreement with individual vendors. Research the best prices for your inventory. You will likely have several food supply companies for your store so make sure you comparative shop.
Pursue legal and financial advice for incorporating your business and paying taxes, payroll and state unemployment insurance. Before opening, apply for a license to sell goods in your town and state. Each state has different requirements for health department and sales tax requirements. Purchase an insurance policy. Workers compensation insurance also will need to be provided for your employees along with any benefits you will offer to them, such as health insurance.
Picking a niche is important for your store. Provide a reason for customers to shop with you, whether it be because you carry fresh Italian ingredients or items imported directly from Italy. You will need to offer items and services that are unique to the area where your store is located. Consider offering services such as nightly family style take-out dinners or deli sandwiches. Research your customer base. If you are located near a college campus, offer different products than if you are located near a senior citizens' complex.
Search for Italian foods that are hard to find in your area. If you are going to include a deli in your store, you can offer the cheese wheels of Provolone, Romano and others associated with Italian cooking. Olive oil is considered a staple in Italian cooking, so you may want to offer specialty olive oils with seasonings or the different grades of the oil.
Making your own pasta and sauces at home denotes real Italian cooking. You can offer the special utensils needed for doing this. Fresh cheese grating can be promoted by selling hand graters with whole pieces of Parmesan cheese. The small olive pitters can be tied in with the products for making stuffed olives and whole cans of Italian tomatoes can be sold next to the tomato strainers. This will make your store an experience in authentic Italian cooking.
Research the possibilities of government assistance in starting up your establishment. (See Resources)
Do not stock items that will sit on your shelves and collect dust. Start with a minimal inventory and add on gradually.