ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Justin and Anna Marino are the owners and operators of Mason & Greens, an independent grocery store that prides its self on being eco friendly by selling sustainable goods. But opening amid the coronavirus has the couple looking at the positives and pivoting their business to make the most of the situation.
The Alexandria store set up during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic on King St in Old Town. And while they worked hard to start their business over a year ago, little did they know a pandemic would impact their grand opening on March 27.
After signing their lease in January and getting their bank loan approved for Mason & Greens, things were good, said the Marino’s.
“But then the coronavirus happened,” said Justin. “And we found ourselves in a situation where we had to modify how we wanted to start our business. We had a whole marketing calendar scheduled and all sorts of good stuff that we had planned for our grand opening, and we had to change it all.”
The Marino's said that adapting was their only option to survive, and continued to hire employees that would be needed for Mason & Greens, and looked for avenues of business to pursue. This included opening online sales when launching its website, something they hoped to hold off doing until May.
Local pickups and online sales have helped, said Anna. "They've been very well. We've had a great response from our local community, more than I would have expected."
Justin says that they have had customers from D.C., Baltimore and other surrounding cities buy through their store's purchase options. He believes it speaks to the good in people.
"People still do want to take care of the planet in times like this," said Justin — who hopes that by his customers having access to the sustainable items he sells, will not only help business but his community during this pandemic.
For more on Mason and Greens, you can visit their website here and help support local shops in need.