Grocery chains have come and gone, but Sparkle Markets has not only survived the highly competitive grocery business, but flourished by providing a half-century of service to their neighbors. The Sparkle owners have made long-time friends in their communities by providing top-notch service, the very best products, and the very lowest prices possible.
Beginning in 1955, four local independent grocers banded together to challenge the national industry giants that had entered area markets. Locals Tony Schiavone, John Halowach, Tony Santisi, and Claid Post joined a group of existing Akron-area independent grocers who had established their own retail-owned warehouse, Betsy Ross Foods, and created the name, Sparkle Markets. Shortly thereafter, Paul Bindas converted his independent grocery store to a Sparkle and joined the four.
At a time when independent grocers were frowned upon, the Sparkle group, by banding together, proved strong. The Sparkle Market owners were now able to advertise, price, and buy as one entity while maintaining their independent identities. This new unity afforded the group additional leverage in buying power, and attracted many new group members throughout the fifties and early sixties.
The legacy of Sparkle Markets continues, courtesy of 1950’s Akron-based advertising executive Robert McCormick, who conceived the now highly recognizable Sparkle icon, 'Sparky the Grocer'. 'Sparky' presents a clean-cut caricature of the involved, hands-on store owners. Consumers have enjoyed this character that has continued to adorn Sparkle circulars, advertisements, and packaging for nearly fifty years.
As the Sparkle tradition of "the owner minding the store" grew into a philosophy that appealed to the consumer, Sparkle stores played an integral part in the communities they served, by supporting local charities and sponsoring area events.
Presently there are 19 Sparkle Markets in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
They continue to operate in much the same style as they did in earlier years.
As one entity maintaining independent identities, they remain "big enough to serve you; small enough to care."
Sparkle owners comprise a six-member Board of Directors led by President Tony Modarelli, owner of South Avenue Sparkle.
The integrity and honest, neighborly philosophy of the group is evident in Modarelli's words,“Sparkle ownership has proven strong and successful because its owners have stayed together.
Sparkle has grown from within, from fathers to sons and daughters. This is the heart of Sparkle independent grocers.”
As members of the Sparkle Markets Association, Inc., each locally owned and operated Sparkle Market store pledges a commitment to the following:
We are dedicated to providing every customer with a clean, friendly shopping environment. All of our goods and services will be offered at an exceptional value and with the highest standards in mind, while emphasizing top-quality meat and fresh produce.
We are dedicated to providing a fair, challenging and rewarding work environment that is free of discrimination, while stressing our dedication to customer service.
We are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the neighborhoods we serve.