By Steve Siciliano
If you’re as old as I am you remember the time when folks did the majority of their shopping at small family run businesses. The Grand Rapids neighborhood where I grew up had a number of these mom-and-pop shops within walking distance from our lower west side home. There was a hardware and a bakery and a corner drug store where meager allowances were spent on comic books, baseball cards and penny candy. A fair-size grocer was on Fulton Street down towards the park. If mom needed a gallon of milk or a pound of sugar or a loaf of bread and she needed it now, she sent us to Borucki’s, one of those once ubiquitous neighborhood grocery/butcher shops that was just a half a block away.
Most of these small independent shops are gone now. Today when we need something we hop in our vehicles and drive. National chains have replaced the corner drug store. Big boxers with acres of floor space have replaced the neighborhood hardwares. Supermarkets have replaced the friendly mom-and-pop grocers. Today we can purchase goods with little or no human interaction. “Don’t forget to take your receipt and all of your change.” It’s all very convenient but also quite impersonal. That self checkout with the detached voice may be very efficient but it doesn’t know your name.
Keeping the human touch in retail is something we strive to do here at Siciliano’s Market. We recognize that today folks can find craft beer anywhere. Big grocery stores have large selections of wine and quality spirits. The internet is an option for beer- and wine-making supplies and premium cigars. But isn’t it nice to be able to talk to someone about that new hazy IPA or which wine would pair best with a chicken marsala, or to have someone explain the differences between a rye and a bourbon or a Nicaraguan and a Dominican cigar? Isn’t it nice to get advice on a beer recipe or have someone help trouble shoot a stuck fermentation?
We realize that our loyal customers have many options. We like to think that our store is still one of those old-fashioned mom-and-pop establishments. In exchange for their hard-earned dollars, it’s our goal at Siciliano’s to provide our customers with something more than merchandise in return.
New and Returning Beer
Ellison Big Black Stout, $3.89/16oz - "A chocolate imperial stout that pours like motor oil and tastes so decadent that you won't be able to stop drinking it. Chocolate up front with a balanced roast finish" (source).
Big Lake BLB 95, $2.79/16oz- "Coming in at only 95 calories: our brand new, low-carb, low-cal BLB 95" (source).
Old Nation Pils Lager, $2.79/16oz - German-style Pilsner.
Short's Evil Urges, $2.59/12oz- "Evil Urges is a Belgian Dark Strong Ale brewed with Amber Candi Sugar. This beer has a deep dark brown color and thick viscous allure. A sharp aroma of chocolate and molasses hits the senses reminiscent of a rich liqueur. Aided by additions of Belgian Amber Candi Sugar, the initial flavors are sweet and malty with some unique dark fruit qualities. Defined roast malt character with a slight black coffee bitterness lead into an intense warming finish, rounding out this full-bodied experience" (source).
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