Massimo Mencarelli: Content in Cagli


by Heather Mickley

Massimo Mencarelli’s bleached white collar wilts in the Cagliese heat. His green apron – emblazoned with the word “Coal” in vibrant red – hangs loosely around his neck. His gaze rests on the pile of paperwork surrounding him as he looks through the grocery store’s previous day’s inventory. Massimo Menarelli

Massimo is trying to survive in tight financial times. “Cagli is smaller than it was, and so we are fighting for people, “ Massimo says. Despite its small size, Cagli has four major supermarkets and three smaller grocery stores. Massimo works for the largest supermarket in town, a chain store called Maxi Coal.

“I work for the best one, and I would like to stay there,” he says smiling. “We have faithful clients. We are close to Cagli so people can walk, and I know all the old ladies by name.”

Massimo credits his success at Coal to ethical business practices.  “You have to acquire trust, and once you acquire trust, they will come back,” he says. “If people come in, they don’t even have to look at what is inside. They trust the person who sells it.”

Trust is an integral part of Cagliese culture. Coal employees take classes to learn how to order fruit to maintain excellent quality standards for customers. “If I had a store, I would put more importance on things people really need,” Massimo says.  “There are certain things you don’t buy when you go (to the store) once a month.”

In addition to his role at Coal, Massimo says he enjoys the company of his family. Massimo says he tried to have lunch with his family everyday. His favorite lunchtime companion is his young niece, Matilda. “We are a close family,” he says. “We talk everyday. We have a good relationship.”

Even on a bad day, everything is good.Although Massimo is a self-declared “homebody, “ he has seen all of Italy through the windows of trains and busses; however, he has never traveled outside Europe. Following each of his adventures beyond this medieval city, he happily returns to Cagli. “I like Italy better,” he says. “The food and the ladies are better. Even on a bad day, everything is good.”

Massimo says his sister, Mara, saved money so that she and her daughter could travel. Mara works as an assistant to a local doctor. “My sister is very thrifty,” he says. Even when his sister and niece are away, they stay in contact using modern technology. “We use Skype and iPhone to communicate,” he says.  

In his spare time, Massimo enjoys playing tennis and says he is one of the best players in the area. There used to be a tennis team in Cagli, he says, but the team has disbanded. While he used to teach a group of children to play, he says he no longer has the time.

For now, he dedicates his time to improving his work environment for co-workers and customers. “If I treat people well, that means I have done something good for the people,” he says. “ I am very proud of what I have done, and I know that I do my best.”



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