Brigidos celebrate 70 years of success as family grocers

Brigidos celebrate 70 years of success as family grocers

The Brigido family is celebrating 70 years in the grocery business this year. The business began in 1943 in Pawtucket, with Augusto Brigido opening his first store. His son, George, right, and his wife CarolAnn continued to grow the stores to today's three supermarkets; in Scituate, Pascoag and North Smithfield. Today, Mark Brigido, left, is president and chief operating officer, while Bruce, rear, handles information technology. LeeAnn, front, handles human resources and training. A fourth sibling, Paul, a New York resident, now helps the family on special projects. (Valley Breeze Photo by Tom Ward)

LINCOLN - The year was 1943, and World War II was raging across the globe. For most in the United States, though, life went on. There were the challenges of wartime rationing and distant family members, but still, life continued with some normalcy on the home front.

One of those back home was Augusto Brigido, who opened his first Brigido's market that year on Beverage Hill Avenue, Pawtucket.

Now 70 years later, the third generation of Brigidos continues to run the three hometown supermarkets serving northern Rhode Island. Augusto's son, George Brigido, and his wife CarolAnn, are now retired in Florida after George's lifetime of work growing the stores and introducing his children to work there.

Brigido's Fresh Markets today are in three locations, including one in North Scituate that opened in 1975, another in Pascoag that opened in 1978, and the third in Slatersville, which opened in 1999 at the former Eddie's Market.

"We are third generation owners with 70 years of experience in the supermarket business," said LeeAnn Brigido. She and her brothers, Mark and Bruce Brigido, all live in Lincoln.

"The name reflects our focus and where we're going," said Bruce, adding that fresh, quality products are what consumers are looking for. Bruce recalls working at the store when he was a kid, bagging groceries, sweeping the floor and corralling grocery carts. "As we got older, we moved on to different departments."

"We're very fortunate on how we were brought up in the business," said Mark, the company's president and chief operating officer. "We were not handed a management position," he said, adding that he and his siblings have a better understanding of all departments since they've worked in all of them at some point in their lives.

Today, Mark handles the business's financial end. Bruce focuses on the company's information technology and computerization. LeeAnn handles human resources and training and is in charge of community affairs. A fourth brother, Paul, lives in New York but is brought in to help on special projects.

The company also recently added a new director of operations, Eric Aguiar, to its leadership team.

Much has changed in the past decade, says LeeAnn, with the introduction of groceries in big-box stores, as well as other competitors like CVS. One of the Brigido trademarks, she said, is to give customers the personal touch. "My grandfather was big on knowing the customers," said LeeAnn. Seventy years later, that hasn't changed.