Go big or go home, right? Chris Jones could have decided not to wake up at 4 a.m. and be the first customer at the opening of DeCicco and Sons on Friday, May 3—but where’s the fun in that?

“I live less than a mile away. I’ve watched this building go up … and shared in the frustration of waiting for it to finally open,” Jones said, standing at the deli counter, which for probably the first and last time had no line. “I was super excited when they were finally coming to Somers.”

Jones described himself as a “bit of a foodie” and finds DeCicco’s offerings better than what others have in store.

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“I just decided I wanted to be the first customer. I had never done it before in my life,” Jones said. “Then when the place opened on my birthday, today is my birthday, I said it’s a sign. I have to do it. I parked myself out there at 4:45 a.m., which was probably a little too early.

“My wife thinks I’m crazy and all my friends are texting me right now saying you’re out of your mind,” he continued.

But his enthusiasm for the boutique grocery paid off. The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, a cup of coffee a private tour before the rush of customers from the store’s namesake, John DeCicco Sr., when DeCicco’s staff spotted Jones in the parking lot at invited him inside well before they were scheduled to open at 7:30 a.m. 

The hospitality didn’t end there. John DeCicco presented Jones with a birthday cake to celebrate the superfan’s 45th birthday.

This thoughtfulness for the community didn’t end with Jones – it was evident throughout the store. DeCicco’s décor paid homage to Old Bet, the elephant brought to Somers by Hachaliah Bailey in 1806 and believed to be America’s first circus elephant. A big mural of Old Bet was painted on the store’s exposed brick wall over the produce section and a cake of Old Bet was made to standout among the store’s pastry selections. There’s a photo of Old Bet with a beer for the bar and the taps and coat hangers around the bar are shaped like elephants. Tote bags also show off Somers’ famous pachyderm.

It was a moment of pride for John DeCicco to finally be walking through the store with busy shoppers and filled shelves as the opening date kept getting pushed back, held up by sewer issues and permits.

“We tried not to get too upset about it,” DeCicco said. He would get 20-30 calls a day and upwards of 300 messages a day on Facebook asking about the opening.

At the formal ribbon cutting later in the day, representative from Sen. Pete Harckham’s office along with Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and Supervisor

Rick Morrissey offered congratulations to the DeCicco family.

Victoria Foley and Julie Witkiewicz were among the first to make purchases.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” the friends agreed. “I have not been more excited for a supermarket to open ever in my life.”