Storefront Stories: Dibella's

Storefront Stories is presented by the Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce. We are featuring various business in hopes to promote how our local entrepreneurs are adapting to this new environment and promoting the amazing things they are doing for our community. We will be introducing different businesses to show how they have chosen to pivot, their recent experiences, personal growth, and any tips or advice they have learned over the last 6 months.

It all started almost a century ago in a little corner grocery store. The place? Rochester, NY. The store? A small, family-run business with a reputation for quality, value and consistency that gradually evolved into an Italian import store and deli.Today, that small, family-run business is 44 stores in five states, still specializing in what got us where we are today: quality, exceptional service and awesome bread. And every time we build a sub, we build a relationship that has attracted a cult following — a relationship that turns first-timers into regulars — one that could only have come from the Italian in us and our red, white and blue collar roots.

What are some of the biggest challenges Dibella's has faced during the time of Covid-19?
We saw many other restaurants furloughing or laying off staff and we didn't want that to happen at DiBella's. We are a family business and felt it was important to keep our team members employed. We turned our focus to supporting the community through donating thousands of meals to healthcare heroes, essential workers and first responders. Our team kept working, we helped feed the people who were taking care of our community and at the end of the day, a temporary hit to our profits was not as important as keeping our team members employed and being there for our community.

What are some ways Dibella's has adjusted to this 'new normal'?
The safety of our team members and guests, and the quality of our food has remained the top priorities. We quickly implemented new health protocols and training to respond to COVID. We adapted our catering trays by individually wrapping each sub on the tray, so our guests could safely distribute the food. We have added curbside pick up and touches delivery to give our guests a safe way to enjoy our food.

What are some helpful tips and insight that you might give another leader of a business or nonprofit?
Take care of your team and the community while providing an excellent product or service.

What is your favorite positive outcome of COVID-19?
Connecting with the community. In addition to providing a comforting meal in a challenging time to healthcare heroes and first responders, we raised over $365,000 for food banks. That includes raising over $29,000 for the Connecticut Food Bank. Being able to feed the heroes that took care of the community and supporting food banks gave us hope and kept our team going.

Thank you Dibella's for participating in our Storefront Stories Series!

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