J&A Grocery gives Reed City a taste of the Mediterranean

Owner Samir Angious prioritizes great service and food

REED CITY— No menu to speak of, frequent free samples, and a friendly atmosphere are the cornerstones of the family-run J&A Grocery store in Reed City.

Part-time tile contractor Samir Angious has been in the food business with his wife Christina Angious for 2 1/2 years at his grocery store and Mediterranean deli, J&A Grocery, in Reed City. The store was named after two of their children, Joseph and Alleyne Angious. 

Since moving to the Reed City area in 2001 from Cairo, Egypt, Angious has wanted to introduce the Reed City area to his Mediterranean favorites. He highly values good service and takes pride in the way he treats every individual who walks through the door.

Without a clear, large menu, ordering inside J&A takes care of itself, for the most part. As soon as you walk in, Angious will ask how you’re doing, or how your life’s been, then offer you a free sample of his homemade Egyptian rice, tabouli, chicken shawarma (which is available spicy or not, in a wrap or in a bowl), chicken gyro, chicken tenders, or sides like mac n’ cheese, or hand-cut potato wedges. Once you’ve tried plenty of samples and found what you like, only then do you order it and spend a single dime on Angious’ food.

It’s very important to Angious that everyone who comes to J&A is satisfied, service-wise, food-wise, and experience-wise. He believes that a large menu with every option for food listed is overwhelming, and leads to indecision, and that taste-testing is a better way for customers to discover their favorite items.

“The menu is the test,” Angious stated.

Most of all, he wants people to enjoy his food, and if that means losing some money on inventory by giving out hefty amounts of free samples to help customers find what they like, Angious is willing to make that sacrifice.

"The customer is right," said Angious. 

It’s not about the money for Angious, or J&A. He works there with his wife and kids and cares more about brightening peoples’ days than turning a  profit. J&A was one of few fresh produce stores in Reed City before Ebels arrived, and the inclusion of authentic Mediterranean food at the deli remains popular despite other grocery options in the area.

More often than not, J&A is quite busy during lunchtime, and most customers come in for Angious' Mediterranean sandwiches with a side of his signature Egyptian rice, or chicken tenders and mac n’ cheese.

Frequent customers get a greeting by name and Angious will ask them if they want their usual order. Names and faces come naturally to Angious and he uses this to make regulars feel like part of the J&A family.

Angious said that some customers aren't always the most friendly, but he makes it a point to treat all customers equally, with respect, and like human beings, even if they're as he would describe, a bit more difficult.

Angious hopes customers appreciate his determination in creating personal connections and listening to their feedback, as well as make sure everyone leaves his shop happier than they came in (or at least more full-bellied).

In the future, Angious hopes to turn the empty lot on his property into a proper dining room with a salad bar, fresh juices and more space for seating.