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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Siciliano's virtual market - now open for business!

After the recent physical expansion, Siciliano's has now expanded in a virtual way.

By Steve Siciliano

We have a lot of customers who drive long distances to get to our store and more than a few have told me that they wish there was a Siciliano’s II in their neck of the woods. While I am always pleased by these comments I secretly shudder at the thought of opening another location. Undoubtedly some of this uneasiness stems from the rather unpleasant memories of the hard times getting this store off the ground. But there’s more to it than that. I’m just not the type who would be comfortable having another store in the same city let alone one in Muskegon, Big Rapids, Traverse City or Alpena. The anxiety level would be too high. Unless I’m out of town or in the hospital getting a new hip, I need to be physically at my business every day. That’s just the way I’m wired.

At the same time I’d be less than honest if I didn’t acknowledge that I’m always looking for new challenges and new opportunities. Obviously there are some folks who don’t mind driving an hour or two to shop at Siciliano’s but I’m sure there are many others who find it more convenient to buy supplies on the internet. Barb and I have decided that it's time to tap into this market.

We have been working on establishing an online store for over a year now. There are a couple of reasons for this seemingly long gestation period. For one, the sheer number of products we carry took a long time to organize and upload into an online catalog. For another, we wanted to ensure that we were doing things right. For yet another, there was a lot to learn, a lot to figure out and a lot of time spent with our website designer (Fusionary Media) and our e-commerce host (Volusion).

We’re finally ready. Actually our virtual store has been operational for a few weeks now but we hadn’t announced its opening so that we could work out the bugs and iron out the wrinkles. After filling recent orders from as far away as Texas and California we are fairly confident that we have done just that. Note that I said fairly confident. I’m sure there will be a few bumps that we haven’t anticipated and future contingencies that will have to be addressed. Hopefully our online customers will be patient with us.

I would like to acknowledge two people in particular who have been instrumental in getting this project off the ground—my wife Barb and my son Chris. This new venture would not have been possible without their efforts. Special thanks also to Fusionary for continuing to help solve the myriad tech issues which outpace our understanding.

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