Small Business Spotlight: Arthur Avenue Staple Stays Ahead Of Amazon With Quality, Consistency And Community

January 16, 2019 - 5:00 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- In this week's Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by BNB Bank -- Community banking from Montauk to Manhattan, Peter Madonia of Madonia Brothers Bakery sits with Joe Connolly to talk about his century-old family-run business on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

Madonia had some "tough jobs," as he put it. He was the chief of staff for former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and chief operating officer at the Rockefeller Foundation, but he says running the business started 100 years ago by his grandfather was the hardest job he ever had.

"You have to make a payroll every week that people depend on, you have to make sure your product every day is of quality and consistency, that there's customer service. So it requires you to pay attention. Now I really do more of the public relations and quality control, I don't bake much anymore, but it's really about making sure that every day your product is excellent and consistent," Madonia said.

In many ways, their business is traditional, but they are staying a step ahead of Amazon.

"We make a hand product, everything we do is by hand, we don't use machines, we use best quality materials for our breads and our cookies. I believe there's going to be a niche business for us of people who want to come in and smell what they're buying before they buy it, want to see it before they get it, want to have a choice that is real and still done by hand in the very traditional old world way," Madonia said.

Location is also part of the appeal 

"I believe Arthur Avenue has made a real Renaissance. It is the real Little Italy in this town. It is vibrant, it is flourishing, there are four bakeries there, there are four pastry shops, there are three butchers, there are two fish stores. It's a really unique neighborhood and mine is one of the half a dozen 100-year-old businesses there," Madonia said. "I think it's as much about the experience, about this authenticity of family-owned businesses being around for 100 years doing things that their grandfather did, evolving. We make a whole new line of breads now that are specialty breads that are not Italian, but we also do all the things my grandfather did. So we really have evolved as a business and as a business community."

Watch the video above to learn Madonia's keys to growing in your community and developing talent.