From family owned business to PEI institution—Ceretti’s Grocery & Hardware

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If you’ve ever travelled across the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island, chances are you’ve driven past Ceretti’s Grocery & Hardware in Borden-Carleton. They’re the first stop when you arrive on the Island and a general store in the truest sense. Ceretti’s carries everything from fresh produce and dry goods, to a full meat shop and a selection of hardware. Established in 1938, it’s no surprise that locals call Ceretti’s “an institution”. 

“I’m third generation when it comes to the store”, says owner, Chad Ceretti. “My grandfather migrated to PEI in the 30s and saw a need for a business of this nature. He ran it for 45 years, then my father took over for another 35 until his passingthat’s when I jumped in to continue the tradition.” 

Running a small business is tough, but sustaining it for decades is even more challenging. When Chad’s father passed away in 2015, he made the decision to leave Calgary, where he’d been living for several years, to return home to the small community he grew up in. It was a considerable life change, but he knew stepping up the task was the right thing to dorunning the store was in his blood. 

“I always enjoyed being around the store and hanging out with my dad. Taking over has been a learning curve, but it feels like it’s in my DNA. Having the support of the same staff that worked with my father makes all of the difference. I couldn’t do this without them,” says Chad. 

Much like Ceretti’s is a family business, many of the store’s employees have worked for the store for 20+ years. Chad credits the business’ success to a team that takes care of each other, and understands the values his father and grandfather established for the business.  

“We deal with our customers face-to-face and with handshakes. We’re not a ‘get in and get out’ kind of place. We take the time to talk to people and to listen. We support our community and carry local products as much as we can. We’re not about numbers when it comes to customers, we’re about quality interactions.”

It’s an approach that’s paid off and led to repeat customers from on and off the Island. And it’s a way of doing business that also attracted Chad to his local credit union.

“Credit unions run their business the same way we run ours. You dial a phone number and someone answers. It’s one-on-one and they know you. My father was a long-time credit union member, and when I took over the store, Consolidated Credit Union was there every step of the way. They’re good at supporting local and so are we.”

Ultimately, Chad is happy to be settled in Borden carrying on the family legacy. By listening to his customers, he hopes to continue offering new products based on need. It’s this right mix of traditional values, and keeping up with fresh demand that will hopefully keep Ceretti’s in business for decades to come.