Before the rise of suburbs in the U.S., it was a common practice to shop exclusively in one’s neighborhood, perhaps just a few blocks away from home. Now, convenience stores
and strip malls dot the landscape in urban areas.
But a local brother-sister team hopes to change that paradigm with their vision for a neighborhood market
inspired by their Italian heritage.
The market offers both indoor and outdoor seating options.
As neighborhood residents, Kerry Antonuccio (An-toe-new-chi-oh) and her brother Patrick are opening Antonuccio’s Italian Market on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 4011 South Wayne Ave.
“Antonuccio’s Italian Market will have many imported Italian products, such as cured meats and cheeses, tomatoes and sauces, olive oils, and pastas, as well general items for neighbors who want to do their daily shopping or pick up last-minute items like fresh produce and dairy,” Kerry explains. “While it’s an Italian market where you can get your favorite prosciutto or cannoli, it also serves as a meeting place for neighbors to get together for a glass of wine and charcuterie board or panini.”
Kerry Antonuccio and her brother Patrick are opening Antonuccio’s Italian Market.
The inspiration? Kerry, who taught high school science, says Antonuccio’s will reflect the family's travels and what they admire about other small, niche family businesses that focus on the customer experience and quality of their products.
Speaking of atmosphere, Kerry says she’s confident that the building’s rich history will add another dimension to the market. The food venture is housed in a former library building, which Kerry and Patrick had renovated to be a modern, inviting space.
“Neither of us has a background in food retail or the restaurant business, but we both have a love of food, a strong interest in the way food brings people together, and we enjoy sharing what we love about food with family, friends, and the community,” Kerry explains.
A glimpse at the market's layout inside while setup is in progress.
Community is really the unseen force at play here. She says the idea behind Antonuccio's began about 14 years ago when she returned to the area after being away for several years.
“Being back in the neighborhood and now, having kids of my own, I found myself looking for something close to home where I could grab a few things for the day—maybe a fun shop with penny candy and convenience items, or a deli with fresh bread, and sliced meats and cheeses,” she explains.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a variety of Italian candy at the market.
It all came together when Patrick broached the idea about going into business together. He had already purchased the building where the market is located as an investment property. The concept of the Italian market seemed like a natural fit, in light of their familial heritage.
And it’s already been well-received, ahead of opening day.
“We’ve had a great response from the neighborhood so far with lots of questions and excitement in anticipation of the opening,” she says, noting that the area is anchored by a number of neighborhoods that are active in supporting local businesses, including Illsely Place, Woodhurst, Southwood Park, Foster Park, and Historic South Wayne.
Antonuccio’s aspires to be a neighborhood meeting place.
Jim Hoch, Principal of Hoch Associates—the architectural firm responsible for the market's design—is not surprised by the arrival of Antonuccio’s in the 46807.
Hoch, who himself grew up in the '07 zip code, says the family's vision and execution of the project reflects a cultural shift. As someone who’s long been interested in neighborhoods and what makes them flourish, he says it’s relatively a simple concept to want to launch a neighborhood market, but easy to over-complicate.
“It just really it goes back to what really made this area thrive 100 years ago, and it still works today,” he says. “That's what architecture is all about. It's all about walkability. It's all about the neighborhood. So the integration of this in the neighborhood is what makes it work."
In addition to grocery items, the market will have places to sit and enjoy wine, charcuterie boards, and paninis.
It doesn't hurt that homes in the '07 tend to be hot commodities these days, valued for their "integrity
," which further positions the Antonuccios for success. That's the sentiment the authors share in the report, "Ten Principles for Rebuilding Neighborhood Retail,"
published by the Urban Land Institute.
"Great streets are always surrounded by dense residential development," the report states. "Where residential growth and revitalization is occurring, retail is primed to follow; it simply will not occur the other way around."
In addition to produce, bread, wine, meat, and cheese, the market will offer a variety of artisanal food products.
Kerry says the existing infrastructure in the area will complement her business, too. There’s a considerable amount of walking, biking, and vehicle traffic in the neighborhood from locals, as well as a number of high-use public locations and destinations, such as their neighbors the Friendly Fox, the Clyde Theatre, and the 07 Pub.
To people who might not call the South Side home, Kerry offers an invitation.
“I think our market will provide opportunities for people living outside the neighborhood to come and enjoy the historic elements of the area and a unique food experience," she says.
Antonuccio’s is a few doors down from the Friendly Fox on South Wayne.