Berkshire County is home to a healthy population of one-of-a-kind, independently owned and operated retail stores. From little mom ‘n’ pop corner shops to corporations, Western Massachusetts is an oasis of unique businesses. Each started as a vision and each carries the indelible mark of a hope that became a reality. And so it is with Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, the dream-child of brothers Chris and Matt Masiero. Now in its 35th year, Guido’s has traveled from infancy (a roadside flower stand) through adolescence (a seasonal store at the present Berkshire Flower Co.) and has now entered into maturity (two stores and one major renovation) that fulfills the original goals and values of the Masiero brothers and their extended family.
Hard work is a given for any business to be successful; without doubt, a solid work ethic is carried in the Masiero genes. Ask any of the young Masiero generation and they’ll describe their large family in terms that confirm this is one industrious clan – strong, full of integrity, driven, willing. A favorite family motto is, “If you do it, do it well,” which speaks to the Masiero relentless determination to excel. That ingrained diligence and purpose kept Matt Masiero driving to the Boston produce market three to five times a week for 25 years, even when, in the early days, his truck often broke down in the middle of the night. Guido, Matt and Chris’s father, encouraged Matt to keep going, while Chris faithfully came to work at 4:00 am to set up produce displays. Decades of this of energy and passion laid the foundation for the Guido’s stores, and make them what they are today – vibrant, relevant and “done well!”
Working hard is tempered by abundant laughter and joy in the Masiero family. They’re a close, loving, funny and outgoing, food-loving Italian family. Their collective sunny disposition spills into their stores, where every day is a happy go-to-market day and shopping is not a chore but an upbeat social event, akin to running into your favorite relatives in the market square. A positive and gregarious outlook is just the Guido’s way both in the Masiero households and in the stores.
The close-knit Masiero family keeps strong family bonds through their supportive network. They cheer each other on and act as a family united through the best and most challenging of times. Their willingness to do anything for those they love is a trait that extends to helping those in need in their communities. Matt and Chris wholeheartedly support a large number of charitable causes, from veterans’ organizations to literacy and education, animal welfare, environmental awareness, healthy living and numerous local museums and non-profits. Their generosity of spirit begins at home and is put into caring practice in the Guido’s stores.
In 1983, when Guido’s built its 1020 South Street store in Pittsfield, Matt and Chris saw the exciting move as an opportunity to bring other businesses into the family fold. Modeled after traditional bustling Italian marketplaces, the new Guido’s welcomed purveyors of meat, seafood, prepared foods and flowers to assemble an all-inclusive market. The gorgeous floral department, owned by the brothers’ sister Annie and her husband Chris Whalen, is a true genetic tie. Love of flowers and gardening has been passed down through the family via Jane Whalen, who was in the floral business for many years and still maintains a beautifully landscaped yard. Other tenants may not share Masiero DNA, but they are very much part of a close business family. Sharing a mutual outlook on life supports the family feel among the Guido’s clutch of vendors. David Renner of the Marketplace in the Great Barrington store values hospitality first and foremost, a quality equally prized by the Masieros. David’s goal is for customers to be so comfortable and served so well that they “…walk out of the store feeling even better than they did walking in,” because as Einstein said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Of his passion for food, David claims, “Love is the most important ingredient.” Chris Masiero echoes this philosophy; he observes, “When you eat, what ingredient do you taste the most of? The love!” Both graduates of The Culinary Institute, it makes sense that Chris and David are wholly invested in the love of creating and serving food from the heart. Another member of Guido’s family, Rob Navarino of the Chef’s Shop, explains what it’s like to be an honorary Masiero: “The Chef’s Shop has been a part of the Guido’s family of businesses since 2000. With Matt and Chris, when you’re part of the business family, your part of the family. I’ve never felt so welcomed, so trusted and so valued in a business relationship as I have through the decade-plus that I’ve had the pleasure to work with the Masieros. This is how business, and family, should be.”
A welcoming place where all are well-fed and content…sounds like home, sounds like Guido’s! The Masieros have spent the past 35 years bringing the best of their family traditions to Berkshire County; they’ve done so with diligence, joy and the hope that you, too, believe that, “Food is love.”