When you’re a small business, e-commerce is harder than it looks

When you're a small business, e-commerce is harder than it looks

There’s a chair in the middle of the Holiday Market, a specialty grocer near Detroit, and if shoppers are lucky, they’ll find Tom Violante Sr. sitting in it. The 91-year-old founder still comes to work almost every day – and he knows where everything is in his 60,000 square feet.

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

This is the type of customer service that the Royal Oak, Michigan store is known for. So when Tom Violante Jr. started to consider offering groceries online, he wanted to provide the same level of care. He does not have …

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