Why Small Businesses Matter
Shop small, do big things for your community
Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!
You're IT The Pantry!
Four questions with Andrew Rolleri, owner of The Pantry.
Why did you start your business?
Originally, my business partner Thierry, and I began the business with the idea that we would create a store where avid cooks and chefs would shop for ingredients to make recipes. That idea has morphed over time to suit our clientele.
What is your best-selling product/service?
It’s hard to say really, we sell a lot of different things. We have a difficult time keeping up with production (year-round). As an example, we make a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough that yields about 550 cookies, and we make that 5-6 times a week (and that is one type of over a dozen made). We make thousands of salads weekly, ditto on sandwiches.
We also make popular food recipes like chicken pot pie once or twice daily in order to keep up with demand. Around holidays, dips sell so quickly that the printer can barely print labels fast enough!! It’s a good problem to have.
How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?
We have always supported local businesses and many small independent vendors. To list a small number:
- Wave Hill Breads
- Tom Cat Bakery
- Two guys from Woodbridge
- Oui Charcuterie
- CT Crab cake Company
- Marquez Produce
- Ocean Gourmet
- Frank Himmelstein (Farm)
- Gilbertie’s Herb Garden
- Soffer Farms
- Arethusa Dairy
- Monkey Pocket Apiary
- CT Shellfish
- Wade’s Dairy
- Granola by Jen
- Telio’s Tzatziki
- Llama’s Garden
- Stani Yogurt
- East Coast Flowers
Have you "reimagined" your small business?
Oh, yes, we have!! The biggest realization is that nobody cooks that much, at least now that they have us! We initially began by selling raw seafood (my family owned the largest wholesale fish market in Connecticut for over 50 years). In a couple of year's time, and after throwing away so much product, we decided to buy fish and just cook it.
We never looked back. We now sell both raw and cooked and we probably cook 50% plus of the raw purchased product daily. We never envisioned the bakery being as busy as it is either. We sell literally tons of desserts annually - all produced by 7 people. It’s dizzying at times, to say the least, and we start sometimes at 2 AM to complete orders (during holidays – we never stop day or night)
On a side note: We have been asked dozens of times to expand. Greenfield Hill, New Canaan, Stamford, Stratfield, Milford, Vermont, etc. My boilerplate response to that: I have a hard enough time controlling what is happening on the other side of this store, why would I want a second location? We are quality-driven.
The owners of The Pantry are Kirsten Guldbrandsen, Thierry Le Meur, and myself (Andrew Rolleri)!
HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!