What do grocery stores mean to you? Are they simply places you go to obtain necessary items? Or maybe spaces you find solace amongst their comfortable normalcy? Perhaps they are just part of a pesky to-do list that you have to check off when you always seem to feel rushed and annoyed? What about a go-to spot to run into friends while gathering your favorite ingredients?
I think it’s safe to say that grocery stores, to me, are not only all of the above, but so much more. Since before I can remember, grocery stores have been part of my world. You are probably thinking, “Yes, they are part of everyone’s world; they are where we get food to survive.” Well, fair, that is definitely true, but from my vantage point, the situation is a little different. I guess an introduction as to who I am would be helpful for a clearer understanding of why grocery stores are so integral to my life.
My name is Kyli Maddox, and I am a proud hometown Kansas City resident, joyful citizen of the world, seeker of goodness, girly girl, Chiefs and Royals fan, lover of storytelling, a self-proclaimed pop culture queen, and a grateful member of the Cosentino family. My Palpal (grandfather), Dante, along with his brothers, Jim and Jerry, his sisters, Mickey, Mary, and Joyce, and under the watchful eye of his parents, Dante and Beatrice, and grandparents, Mary and James Intravia, created and established the Cosentino Food Stores.
In 1948, my family, thanks to a wondrous moment of happenstance, stumbled upon a fruit stand for sale. Serendipitously (and with a lot of hard work), everything else fell into place and the Cosentino’s soon found themselves proud new members of the grocery industry—an industry that since has become the backdrop of our lives. Through thick and thin, constant changes, fresh innovations, and from one generation to the next, a firm foundation was built and a company rooted in quality customer service, enriched community relationships, and fine products grew.
I didn’t come into the picture until 1986 and obviously missed most of the early party, but my most vivid childhood memories are made up of the times I got to go to the store with my Palpal and witness the smiles brighten people’s faces whenever he visited. He was so loved. During those trips to the store, I learned how to sack groceries properly, never forgetting that eggs go in a separate bag and always remembering that bread should be placed on top as to avoid being demolished. My Palpal instilled in me the vital lesson that the customer is our friend and always right. Perhaps most importantly, I remember unquestionably feeling so loved by the checkers and deli cutters and the meat guys and bakery gals, all such friendly faces who over time became my family.
“All in the family” was a motto that developed 69 years ago due to, quite literally, everyone in our family rolling up his or her sleeves and getting to work when that first store opened. Any customer walking into that market on Blue Ridge Boulevard would find the brothers and sisters doing anything from sweeping the floor to stocking the shelves, the nieces and nephews sacking groceries or working the customer services stand, and, without a doubt, customers would spot James “Papoo” Intravia sitting out front and welcoming everyone as they entered, which pretty much made him the first ever store greeter. Basically, when in doubt, it was always safe to assume that everyone working in the store was somehow related to the family. When the company expanded, there weren’t enough of us family members to fill all the stores with employees, but the motto remained the same. I mean, how could it not stay the same? We were all very much one big family, still rolling up our sleeves and going to work together.
I share this story with you because my family’s journey is a reflection of our wonderful community that is abundantly filled with loyal and loving customers—customers who, like you, have supported us since our store’s inception and granted us the greatest privilege in welcoming us into their homes and hearts. I guess what I am trying to say is, to answer the question posed at the beginning of this post, well, grocery stores are my roots, my home, and an intricate part of my story that has provided me with all my family members, blood related or not, that wrap my heart with such grace.
So, welcome to the Cosentino family! I very much look forward to sharing some different aspects of the store with you every week. After all, that’s what family is for, right? To fill you in on the fun new gossip and behind the scenes happenings, to make introductions to new members, and to keep you up to date on all the hot new deals? I am so happy to have you here as part of our growing family.
Grocery Store Girl
(^Everybody should have a super embarrassing and idiosyncratic pen name, right?)