When You’re a Small Business, E-Commerce Is Tougher Than It Looks

they’ll find Tom Violante Sr. sitting in it. The 91-year-old founder still comes to work most days — and he knows where everything is in its 60,000 square feet.

“He asks everyone if they found what they wanted,” said his son, Tom Violante Jr., who operates the store with his sister and brother-in-law. “If they haven’t, he’ll tell them which aisle it is in, how many steps it takes to get there, and where it’s located, knee, head or belly high.”

That’s the type of customer service the store, in Royal Oak, Mich., is known for. So, when Tom Violante Jr. began considering offering online grocery shopping, he wanted to provide that same level of care.

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