ST. CHARLES – Growing up, the Blue Goose Market was as much of a home to Paul Lencioni as his house.
The grocery store was a topic at every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and with several relatives working in the store, he didn’t know who was part of his family and who wasn’t.
“It was my extended family,” Lencioni said. “Those are the things that make the Blue Goose an extension of your house.”
His jobs at the store have included cutting the meat, accounting duties, stocking shelves and working as assistant general manager. This month, the 37-year-old has another position to add to that laundry list – president.
“I’m honored to be the fourth generation of the Lencioni family to run the store,” Lencioni said. “My family is really proud of taking care of St. Charles for the past 84 years.”
The previous president and vice president were his father, David, and aunt, Mary Pearson, respectively, he said.
“My sister and I looked at the things we need to do to have a great business and realized that we are more interested in slowing down than gearing back up to address the business needs of our five-year planning horizon,” David Lencioni said in a written statement.
“Mary and I will continue directing the company as board members, but with my son having the supermarket expertise that the Blue Goose needs, we can slow down, knowing that our future is in good hands.”
Paul Lencioni said he returned to the Blue Goose after working in the convenience store industry about four years.
“When I left, I figured I was leaving the Blue Goose behind me,” he said.
But, he said, he missed working in St. Charles.
“I love this town,” he said. “I love being here. I care deeply for it.”
Since it opened in St. Charles in 1928, Blue Goose Market has had four location. Its newest location, 300 S. Second St., opened in 2008.
Paul Lencioni credits its staying power to more than passionate leadership.
“The challenge for being successful as an independent supermarket is to offer your customers value in everything you do and live up to the promise to understand and meet customers’ needs better than the competition every day,” he said.
“If you are committed to meeting that challenge, you can beat any competition. Most of the chain stores have leadership who are miles and states away and who will most likely never consider the needs and concerns of specific communities. They have no way to adjust to the changing needs of a very localized market area.”