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Issue Date: Downtown Digs 2007

Grab the Mayo, Will Ya?

Myra Orenstein
Costas Mavromichalis didn’t think it would be like this. The owner of convenience stores for the past 30 years, he envisioned that having a grocery store in the Warehouse District — a hotbed of downtown housing — would be different. What he didn’t expect was that Constantino’s Market, at 1278 W. Ninth St. in The Bingham Building, would be this popular with the residents.

“We truly are the neighborhood refrigerator,” says Costas, who runs the store with his wife, Evelyn, and daughter, Anna. “At least 900 people come in here every day … some three times a day.”

To what does he attribute his success? In part, he believes that, as a local store owner, he is better able to understand the needs of his customers. For example, when the market originally opened, Mavromichalis envisioned the need for offering prepared foods and hired a single chef. With prepared foods in ever-growing demand, he now employs four chefs and an in-store baker.

Monthly dinner and wine tastings, an in-store café with a warm-weather al fresco option and party catering have all evolved over time. He has also recently begun offering full breakfasts in addition to his breakfast sandwiches.

“Part of the reason that we are successful has to do with our knowledge of our customers. We know them by name. We are truly part of our neighborhood,” he says. “People are always coming in and saying, ‘We’re so glad you’re here.’”

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