BROADALBIN — A village institution reopened under new ownership this week, as Broadalbin’s corner market on Main Street opened its doors as a second outpost of Johnstown’s Deli Master.
The corner market at 49 N. Main St., formerly known as Myzal’s and later Sawyer’s Corner Store, officially opened as the Deli Master Marketplace on Monday. Owner John Schiavo said that response to the new store has been strong.
“It’s been better than expected,” Schiavo said in a phone interview Wednesday. “The people are very receptive, very kind people. I really like the community, and I’m hoping to get to know more of the business owners once they start reopening.”
Sawyer’s Corner Store closed in April 2019 and the building was put up for sale shortly after. Schiavo’s purchase of the building went through in February.
The turnaround to open was quick, Schiavo said, but opening the market in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was something he felt was both important and helpful to the community.
“I wanted to open as quick as possible,” he said. “With [COVID-19] going on, I knew what had happened at our other store, and I knew this was a necessity.”
The market fills a void in the Broadalbin community that had been felt since Sawyer’s Corner Store closed last year, shortly after the February 2019 fire that destroyed Broadalbin’s Meatland butcher shop and meat market.
“It was a food desert out here,” Schiavo said. “Opening up definitely helped the township out.”
Deli Master, initially called Schiavo’s, was started by Steve Schiavo, John’s father, in 1987. Initially a food wholesaler that sold to restaurant clients, the decision was eventually made to open to the public.
John Schiavo worked weekends in the family business while in high school and joined full-time after graduation. He had a six-year period where he struck out on his own, operating restaurants and a fish market in Johnstown as well as a pizzeria in Amsterdam, but returned to Deli Master in 2010 and has focused on expanding the business.
The company’s origins as a wholesaler are reflected in the current business, which focuses more on selling food items in bulk.
“We give the general consumer an opportunity to buy in bulk and save themselves a lot of money,” Schiavo said. “I always say it’s like the way your grandparents used to [shop]. When the old general stores were around, you had to go buy 100 pounds of flour. We don’t sell flour in 100 pounds — we sell 25 pounds — but we give another option. I think people are really catching on and liking the idea.”
Deli Master’s wholesale roots have also allowed the company to keep its food supplies well-stocked at a time where many items are missing from the shelves of larger chain grocery stores.
“When the big guys failed everybody, when they were out of meat and out of a lot of necessities, we still had it in stock,” Schiavo said. “It grew our business very quickly in the last couple of months. The timing was right to open a second place, although I already had it in the process before COVID-19.”
He added, “It put the community’s trust in us that so far we’ve been keeping up,” even if it meant leaving his home at 5 a.m. Wednesday to meet trucks and make sure he had supplies.
Schiavo said the hope is that the Broadalbin location will serve both local consumers and restaurants in the area.
The Broadalbin Deli Master Marketplace will also feature a deli offering sliced cold cuts and sandwiches prepared on site, something that isn’t offered at the Johnstown store. That part of the store should be up and running in about a month, Schiavo said.
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected] or @Adam_Shinder on Twitter.