DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Through the economic ups and downs of downtown Dayton, one constant the last 20 years is Stop-N-Save grocery on 36 W. Third St.
Many credit the Abboud family’s grit, something co-owner Joe Abboud showed as a lineman with the Centerville High School football as early as a freshman, playing alongside NFL and Ohio State standouts A.J. Hawk and Mike Nugent, and Ohio University quarterback Ryan Hawk.
His experience with the Elks stayed with him as he joined the family business. His office wall is adorned with photos of him from his playing only as a freshman along with only three seniors, Abboud would usually play parts of the freshman, junior varsity and varsity games every week. That tenacity and love of family business have kept him and his father Tony running Stop-N-Save through the Great Recession.
“We just hung in there,” Joe Abboud said. “We came to work every day and grinded it. People still found a way to come to the store because it’s convenient. Someone could grab a couple of things and still take the bus.”
When Stop-N-Save opened in 1997, retail stores were a stronger presence downtown, a jeweler next door and a walkway for customers that ended near the grocer in a parking lot on Ludlow Street.
Years later, those stores are gone, but with downtown rapt with construction, Abboud hopes it brings growth and customers to the family business. So far growth has been small but he’s optimistic about the future.
“A lot of people ask us that,” Abboud said. “I’ve seen a little increase, but not as big of an increase as people are talking about.
“They’re building apartments down the road, we have new ones already downtown, and they’re redoing the Arcade. Hopefully, the change will bring more people. If they come, we have everything you’ll need.”
Abboud said the biggest change his family has dealt with hasn’t been economics but the changing habits of shoppers. The days of people stocking up on groceries and cooking from scratch are gone.
“Twenty years ago they would come in and buy a decent amount of groceries and not watch what they eat,” Abboud said. “Now instead of buying tons of food, they buy a small amount, and they aren’t cooking. That’s the trend in the grocery industry.”
“People don’t have the time to cook because of their hectic schedules. That’s one reason we have Hunt Brothers Pizza, which we brought in back in February. We also have Broaster Chicken, which is popular.”
Business is strong enough to pack the 6,000-square foot shopping area, which includes a salad bar, a produce section, a large meat section and other areas from basic necessities to Ohio-farmed meat and apples.
Whether downtown’s construction boom translates into business for Stop-N-Save, don’t expect the grocer to go anywhere – the Abboud family loves its business and plans on sticking with it.
“We really like what we do,” Abboud said. “We sell groceries and we just like it.”
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