Steve’s Quality Meats and Deli combines old world experience with digital-savvy branding
Inspired by the Danforth’s European roots, Steve’s Quality Meats and Deli takes an old school approach to custom cuts and classic Italian takeaway fare. But it’s their digital strategy that’s helped them connect with their community.
Growing up in the Danforth East, Piera Armata has seen a lot of change, but the ideological heart of the vibrant community built by European immigrants remains.
“It's more like a little village in the city – everybody knows each other, looks out for each other, for each other’s kids,” says Armata. “(And people) put in the effort to shop locally.”
It’s that predilection towards the local that has helped buoy, the butcher and takeaway business Armata co-founded with her husband Steve Miome just west of Woodbine on the Danforth two and a half years ago.
When Armata, who’s 50, was growing up, the neighbourhood was riddled with shops like Steve’s catering to the European habit of shopping fresh daily. “We try to bring a little bit of that (back) into the community,” she says. It’s a feeling Miome also grew up in as a young butcher’s apprentice in New York from the time he was thirteen years old onwards. Seven years ago, a master of his craft, Miome moved north after marrying Armata. The shop followed soon after.
“Our customers come in with an idea of a specialty cut and Steve recognizes it and knows how to cut accordingly,” says Armata. “I think that's one of the big attractions to our store. Steve knows about quality, he tailors to each individual person.”
Expertise aside, Armata and Miome wanted their brand to stick out and felt it was time to broaden their digital footprint.
Steve’s Quality Meats and Deli gets a Digital Main Street facelift
One of their customers, another business owner from the Danforth Mosaic BIA, connected them with a digital marketing specialist at Digital Main Street. After a bit of back-and-forth, they’d hashed out a plan and begun working on their brand presence.
“They were so patient with me, I set aside an hour and a half a week with them,” says Armata. The goal was to update the website and build a Facebook page for the business, helping them connect with the community and grow their reach. Digital Main Street found a website that would fit within their budget.
Armata hadn’t spent too much time toying with social media prior to connecting with Digital Main Street but the results of the re-vamp surprised her.
“I didn't think it would take off the way it really did,” she says. Clients started to tap into services they’d been offering like free home delivery (which Armata says helps offset the lack of parking in the area) and placing orders for catering. Customers also seem to have a better idea of what they want when they call to place orders, an education Armata credits the website with providing.
“If it wasn't for that we wouldn't have the extra business,” she says. “(Digital Main Street) really helped us to launch Steve's Quality Meats and bring it to another level.”
Her advice for other entrepreneurs: “Spend the time and then you reap the rewards.”
By Andrew Seale
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, and Yellow Pages.
This case study was completed during a prior expansion of DMS in partnership with the Province of Ontario and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In June 2020, a $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and an additional $7.45 million from the Government of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19.