Mario Conforti

Mario Conforti

“Inflation has definitely been our biggest challenge for the last 18 months or so. Prices have been going up on everything. People are including gas surcharges on almost everything, which is frustrating. It’s just an additional flat cost. It started with COVID, and now with gas prices, even shipping costs have skyrocketed.”

“We import products from Italy, and I think when I first started, a container shipment was around $3,000 to $5,000. Right now I want to say it’s closer to $12,000 to $15,000. Anything imported right now is expensive.”

“I started here full time in July 2020, and that was a tough adjustment for us. There were some unique challenges. We had to take out indoor dining and everything, but we were able to pivot during COVID with products people were looking for.”

“We actually stayed pretty busy during that time. A lot of people bought frozen stuff, pasta, dry goods, anything with a long shelf life. We were able to keep all of our employees on board and myself, which was great.”

“Growing up, the deli was like my day care over the summers. I spent a lot of time around the store, hanging out with my grandpa, my dad and the rest of my family here. It was natural to work here with my family when I was looking for a part-time job in high school. I worked summers in high school and college.”

“After college, I worked at KPMG, but I would help over the summers if I wasn’t too busy, even Saturdays, Sundays, whatever I could do.”

“We figured out a couple years back that the average employee has been here for 15 years. Everyone here becomes family, so it’s just fun being around everyone.”

“We’ve tried to take care of our employees and save people that have been around us for so long. Tax and fee hikes are really tough for small businesses like us. Our margins are pretty tight, so tax hikes hit us the hardest.”

“Wages are only increasing so much but prices are increasing by a lot. I think most people know there are other things are going on for us, it’s not just us raising prices. But, for some people, they rely on us for grocery and daily lunches. So their costs are going up, but their pay is the same.”

“Pretty much every few months, prices are different rates on our end. It’s frustrating for us when we have to raise prices because we like to take pride in our prices. People complain but you have to pass the prices on. It’s definitely been a tough challenge.”

“When we moved from our old Yorktown location to Oakbrook Terrace, business went up a lot, which was awesome. Our sales have gone up a lot but our monthly tax payments are huge, too, which is eye opening.”

“There’s only so many expenses small businesses can write off. Operations can shelter some of that for us, but we’re making huge payments to the state right now, which is frustrating.”

“The city of Oakbrook Terrace has been really good. They’ve been working with us on everything. They’re super generous, but the state is a tough one.”

Mario Conforti
Manager, Frankie’s Deli
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!
Keep scrolling for more inspiring stories

Have a story to share?

Tell us how a state or local policy affects your life.
If we decide to feature your story, one of our writers will reach out to you directly.