This week, there is plenty to be thankful for. For a pair of Wilmington business owners, a boost in business before Thanksgiving is one of those things.
Melissa Elia of Elia’s Country Store and John Lucci of Lucci’s Supermarket both said Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest times of the year as customers flock to fill their tables with last minute needs.
“The place is extremely busy this week,” said Lucci, whose store includes Susan’s Kitchen where customers can purchase homemade dishes that are ready to eat. “I think what’s different now compared to a few years ago is that we sell a lot more prepared foods. If you can cook a turkey at home, Susan’s Kitchen can help you out with all of the sides. There’s a big crew back there and they do a great job.”
Lucci’s is open on Wednesday but closed on Thanksgiving Day, one of just two days per year the business shuts its doors.
Similarly, Elias offers prepared sides and desserts, including a wide variety of pies. Elia said that business slows down a bit in the fall before Thanksgiving brings customers out in droves.
While Thanksgiving Day goes smoothly for most Wilmington residents, that isn’t always the case. That’s where Elia’s Country Store comes in.
The business is open from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and Elia said every year she sees a handful of panicked customers, some looking to pick up a backup turkey after an unforeseen circumstance occurs.
“A lot of people are thankful because they get stuck and we get the desperate phone call,” said Elia. “I love when someone calls and you can hear it in their voice how grateful they are that we’re open. They’re really appreciative and it makes it feel like it’s worth being open for them. I just love when we can help someone out who is stuck. It’s nice.”
Lucci said his store sells about 200 preordered turkeys for the holiday, about 500 altogether. He said this year the business opted against selling pre-made turkey kits, because he stands behind the quality of the food he sells.
“There are people who just like good food, and I like to accommodate them,” said Lucci. “It’s a place where the employees can make a difference. We give people the products they want and the service that they want. It’s not a big chain, so it’s fun to take care of people.”