Town Square

Mighty market

Original post made on Sep 7, 2013

Keep it local and listen to your customers. That's what John Piazza Sr. of Piazza's Fine Foods, which has a newly expanded store in south Palo Alto, taught his sons about staying competitive in the grocery business. It's never been the easiest way to make a living and is now even more treacherous, with big-box discounters on one flank, supermarket chains on the other and farmers' markets nipping at the heart of what family-owned groceries provide: a sense of community.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 6, 2013, 12:00 AM


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Posted by Barbara Best
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 7, 2013 at 10:35 am

I have been shopping at Piazza's for years and love it. Two additional selling points:

* A few years ago, I made a spreadsheet of all the items I buy, then spent two months filling in prices from Piazza's and Safeway; I was surprised to see that Piazza's pricing was, in most cases, in line with Safeway's. Piazza's LOOKS high-end, but their pricing is competitive.

* Can't say enough good things about the staff. You can hear and see the camaraderie during the day; the managers are fun and efficient, and their attitude is shared by the staff. They take an interest in their customers - and they even hired a guy to help shoppers find items that moved around during the renovation.

I love the feeling of buying food for my family from a local grocer, who wants to provide me with high-quality products and a comfortable shopping experience. Thanks, Piazza's!

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Posted by Big Box Lies
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm

A lot of the big box discount stores sell products very near, on , or after their expiration date. You have to read labels or you may end up with cupboards and a fridge full of spoiled food.

I used to go to such stores a lot, sometimes going as far as Redwood City in one direction, Sunnyvle in the other. But the savings were bogus, with food that had to be thrown out and replaced.

There are no real bargains in perishable items

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I love Piazzas and go there once a week, usually for weekend meals.

I tend to buy some of the hard to find elsewhere groceries, produce, meat, fish, cheese, bread, deli items. I am pleased that there are now more tables outside to eat a quick lunch.

I usually buy most of my staples, canned goods, non-perishables, named brands, cleaning stuff, toiletries, paper goods, etc. elsewhere because they are cheaper and have a better selection, I usually do this a couple of times a month. Costco is great for the things they sell, but again, their selection is limited and sometimes I just don't have the freezer space for shopping in bulk.

I like to have great selection and one stop shopping, a clean restroom is also a plus as groceries are often on the way home from an errand run. It is useful to be able to buy stamps, get rolls of quarters, atm, hot bread, gift cards, floral and pharmacy, all in one stop.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Piazza's may compare favorably to Safeway on price, but that is not because Piazza's is cheap. Safeway is just expensive, at least for the Palo Alto store. We try to go to Trader Joes as much as we can now both because Trader Joes has a more interesting selection and because they are cheaper. Even name brands at Trader Joes are often cheaper than the house brands at Safeway.

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Posted by Jayne
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm

The original Piazza's was around 20,000 sq. ft. However, they applied for and were granted an extra 3,000 sq. ft. so they could take over the dental offices next door. Piazza's is now approximately 23,000 sq. ft. All done with City approval.

It is high time the City allowed other grocery stores in Palo Alto to grow bigger. The new Safeway in Mountain View is 65,000 sq. ft. how can grocery stores in Palo Alto compete when they are restricted to 20,000 sq. ft?

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 9, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Piazza's is a fantastic store and I do go there even though I don't live near them. They are centrally located within Palo Alto - I feel that area is the best, central area (including Mitchell Park Library/Community Center and Cubberley) and optimum for centers, schools, community centers AND this great store.
If the Fresh Market does not make enough revenue at the Duveneck/St. Francis location (I am not wishing ill on them), I urge Piazza's to please open a small branch there to serve our side of the city. I would go there all the time.

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Jayne-- i wonder then if you are right, why the weekly misreported the size of the store.
I also remember they enlarged their entry area a number of years ago. Do not forget that piazzas was completely against the proposed Lucky store at alma plaza years ago. They insisted that 20k square feet was large enough ( what the brothers really meant is they do not want any competition) . Now, I guess more than 20K is okay, wheat is totally self- serving.
Anyway, the ship has sailed on large, well stocked grocery stores in palo alto. No company wants to deal with the palo alto process-- they just build on our border and they will come.

Anonymous-- you know that mountain view is a coupled blocks away from piazzas.

[Post removed.]

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 9, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Not, when you think of PALY and Gunn, and how they are positioned in the city, then Cubberley HS (was a great centrally located school.
I think of Middlefield Rd as "in the middle" when one thinks of those of us near 101 and those who are near 280 in Palo Alto. I just think that is a great, central area and I wish I lived around there.
The other issue of centrality could be how close to Mt. View vs. how close to Menlo Park, I suppose.

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 9, 2013 at 5:10 pm

What's wrong, -- I cannot surmise that the weekly misstated the size of piazzas because they buy advertisement in the weekly and we have a little quid pro quo going on????
Maybe when you guys grow up and work at a real newspaper you will understand the concept

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Posted by Town Square Moderator
online staff of Palo Alto Online
on Sep 9, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Town Square Moderator is a registered user.

Not an issue,

Your comment was removed because Piazza's is not an advertiser in the Weekly. Before jumping to conclusions you may want to check first in the future.