Neighborhood Grocer Has History with Tampa

Saturday afternoon the sun illuminates the corner of West Grand Central and South Hyde Park, making it appear like a set for a typical neighborhood movie.

Amid this historic neighborhood, a grocer has served locals since 1927.

Nicolo Massari founded Model Cash Grocery after he emigrated from Sicily. Now his grandson, Andrew, 63, carries on the family’s legacy.

Full of memories and a substantial part of the community ever since its opening, Model Cash Grocery is a place where one can get sense of real Tampa history. The store is still family run three generations later and has weathered economic turmoil before, including the Great Depression.

Massari welcomes customers with a smile.

‘This store used to be a full-service store. We sold meat and made deliveries,’ said Massari.

He took over the business over in the 1970’s, when it was also remodeled, and has always been self employed since then.

‘The only period I was not self-employed was in the 1960’s, when I was drafted to serve in the Navy for four years,’ he said.

He obtained a degree in business administration from USF prior to taking over the store. He took a break from his studies due to military obligations, and was stationed in Hawaii. However, he finished his degree at USF after he left the armed forces.

‘The situation for small businesses has changed,’ said Massari. ‘There are barely any neighborhood stores around, because of the big supermarkets and drug stores everywhere. It used to be different around here. The situation for small businesses has become worse.’

Nevertheless, his business enabled him to send his two sons to college and graduate school, becoming a lawyer and an accountant.

Having a historical shop close to UT not only enables students to witness some of the area’s past, it is a good opportunity to relieve a grumbling stomach with one of the fresh sandwiches prepared daily without heading too far from campus.

Leave a Reply

Back To Top