bake special report may 2022 - 30

" Definitely, people are looking for
curbside delivery, " she said. " We are
happy to be offering it at this time. "
Phoenicia Specialty Foods employs
125 to 150 staff, and the restaurant
has another 40. The retailer never
closed during the pandemic.
" It's been challenging to find
and retain the right workforce. At
our core positions, we have kept
our staff from pre-COVID days, "
Tcholkian says. " We have a loyal
and enthusiastic workforce. They
help with our everyday decisions.
They are on the ground floor with
everybody. There is a willingness to
work as a team of people. "
Origins of a specialty grocer
Phoenicia Specialty Foods is a dream
that started modestly in 1983. Arpi
and Zohrab Tcholakian, formerly
of Lebanon, and of Armenian
descent, opened Phoenicia Deli, a
2,500 square foot, Mediterraneanstyle
delicatessen and grocery,
on Westheimer Road in Houston.
Zohrab convinced Arpi that it
would be best for them to pursue
their passion for food and not wait
for the layoffs that awaited those
in Zohrab's engineering profession
during the collapse of the oil
industry in the 1980s.
Zohrab as a child enjoyed working
in his father's corner grocery store
in Lebanon. The business came very
natural to them, and despite the
economic downturn of the 1980s,
the Tcholakians were determined
and created a loyal following.
Phoenicia Deli still flourishes as a
restaurant just across the street
from where it once originated
and is now called Arpi's
Phoenicia Deli after the
matriarch of the family.
In 1992, Phoenicia Deli
leased a space to store the
many imported goods they
were receiving. Soon, retail and
wholesale customers started going
30
to the storage space for a case of
their desired, hard to find specialty
items, and eventually this grocery
storage space became a specialty
foods market.
In 2006 Phoenicia Specialty
Foods was born, a 55,000-squarefoot
international food market
that sat across the street from
the deli. The enterprise has
continued to grow ever since,
and has tripled in size, thanks to
loyal foodie friends.
" We are still very much at the
core a family business with owners
who are very involved, but with a
different set of growing pains and
scale, " Tcholkian said. " Our specialization
in the food of the Middle
East, Mediterranean, European and
Eastern European regions helped
sustain us. My parents, founding
owners from the beginning, wanted
to make sure we were not too
specialized and also not too overreaching
that we lost our strength,
which was staying true to this niche
that was part of our roots. Also, we
amplified our ability to find ways
to produce hard to find or labor-intensive
foods. "
Bake Magazine Digital Special Report 2 | Volume 3 | bakemag.com
©FOTOFERMER - STOCK.ADOBE.COM, JOHN UNREIN
http://www.bakemag.com

bake special report may 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of bake special report may 2022

bake special report may 2022 - Intro
bake special report may 2022 - 1
bake special report may 2022 - 2
bake special report may 2022 - 3
bake special report may 2022 - 4
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