RUTHERFORD, NJ -- Doing business during the coronavirus pandemic has brought many new changes and lessons for Matera’s on Park, an Italian market and eatery on Park Avenue in Rutherford. HomeGrown’s Stephanie Willoughby spoke with Erica Russo, Director of Events and Communication for Matera’s, about the ways the small business has adapted to help both their customers and the community. 

“When all this started, we had to restructure our business plan, had the conversation about empathetic retail,” said Russo, “like creating bundles of food for people who maybe have lost their jobs or if their income has changed.” 

Other changes to their takeout model include serving all their food in freezer-safe containers, so people can stock up and don’t have to go out as often. They have created an app which makes it easier for people to order and to pick up. Matera’s has also built a curbside window, so people can pull up outside in their cars and don’t have to worry about coming inside and dealing with anyone face-to-face. 

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They are also creating family-friendly meals and even food-related family activities, like pizza and pasta-making kits, in the hopes “to make a memory out of this whole thing, more so than a stressful time,” said Russo.  

Matera’s has also launched a program called 07070 Strong, in which proceeds from T-shirt sales and meals purchased on their app will buy a meal-in-kind for a first responder. 

Overall, Russo said, there are takeaways that they’ve learned that will continue after normal business resumes, such as “realizing what an actual necessity is for people,” she said, and “simplifying things from here on out,” she continued. “This is what’s needed and this is what we can give you.”

To read more about Matera’s on Park, visit them online at www.materasonpark.com.