New grocery store filling a need for area residents

Mercato Fresh staff Ted Dimoglou, left, and Amanda Cuti, right, work behind a counter at the new Chatham grocery store on Thursday. Tom Morrison / jpg, CD

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A new “niche” grocery store fills a gap residents have been asking for, Chatham-Kent’s director of economic development says.

Mercato Fresh, located in the former Target on Grand Avenue West in Chatham, held its grand opening Friday morning. When the store officially opened the day before, Stuart McFadden from said there were more than 50 people lined up before the doors were unlocked.

“I knew there would be an interest because I can tell you that the mayor’s office gets letters all the time about, ‘We need something on this side of town. We need something over here,’ because of all of the apartment buildings and whatnot around,” he said.

“But I didn’t think it (the first day) would be like that, honestly. I’ve been to a lot of store openings in my career and I haven’t seen anything like that in a long, long time.”

The store is owned by Marc Romualdi and Jonathan Reaume. Both from Windsor, Romualdi owns the M.R. Meat Market stores and Reaume is a red seal chef who owns Toscana Restaurant.

They’ve launched the Mercato brand in Chatham and plan to expand to other areas if they are successful.

Before working in the public sector, McFadden was employed at, and later owned, grocery stores for about 30 years.

He said Mercato is “one of the most beautiful stores” he has seen.

“They’re coming out with something niche. It is a market, and you can see from the decor that they’ve chosen, it is really fresh,” he said.

McFadden said there will be some things people will have to visit somewhere else to buy, but that’s not a problem.

“They know what they’re good at and they’re staying at that and again, the store looks beautiful and the community came out yesterday in droves,” he said.

During the grand opening, Romualdi said he and Reaume are “old-school grocers” who will listen to their customers’ wants and needs. He credited the staff for a successful opening.

“We’ve assembled, I think, the finest team possible in this store, and I hope we can replicate it in other stores. Chatham has got a lot of talent pool,” said Romualdi. “It was insanely busy here yesterday and the staff really pulled it together on our first day.”