Smart Partners

Lina's Italian Market

Top Quality Ingredients Need Top Quality Internet Service to Match

When you shop for groceries, how much do you expect to learn about the food you purchase? How often do you know the cashier by name? At Lina’s Italian Market in Calgary, shopping for food is an elevated experience, one that will leave you with a basket full of high quality, authentic ingredients and a passion for what you’re heading home to cook.

The company’s three locations aim to emulate the atmosphere of a European mercado, says Lina’s General Manager Matt Rai, each equipped with a shopping area, a fresh bakery, a deli, and a cafe with an area to sit and have a hot meal or a cappuccino. “You get your pizza, your gelato, have a cafe, you can shop. It’s not so much like a grocery trip anymore, it’s an experience for your family—it’s an outing.” The original shop opened almost 30 years ago, creating a generational familiarity among some loyal customers. “We always hear from people that their grandparents used to bring them to Lina’s,” says Matt. “Some employees have been here for over 10 years—they’ve seen the growth, they know the customers, they know their grandchildren.”

We use Business Phone for customer calls, taking catering orders, and talking to our vendors all over Europe and America.

Matt Rai, General Manager of Lina’s Italian Market

That kind of brand loyalty is born from knowledgeable sellers and the top quality products they provide, many of which Calgarians wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. Their fly-in program for imported products means they’re able to serve authentic ingredients straight from the source—like their best-selling burrata cheese from Italy. “We’re able to import from Spain, England, Italy, Denmark,” says Matt. “It’s opened up a world of products that people see when they travel but they can’t get it in Calgary or even Canada.”

That unique program, however, makes for a lot of back and forth, and a lot of item tracking. Using Shaw Business Internet helps Matt reliably track his inventory, communicating about stock and new items to over 130 employees between three locations. “With over 15,000 products now, I need to make sure my data is flowing, and that people are able to log in and do their work.” And with over 5,000 weekly transactions per store, internet reliability matters to their loyal customers. “That extra second or ten actually adds up,” says Matt. “It’s part of the experience. The last thing you want to worry about is having connection issues.”

Lina’s has been a Shaw customer since they first opened their doors, in part because they feel a kinship between the two Calgary-based companies’ mandates. “I’ve used Shaw my whole life,” says Matt. “It’s nice to see something that’s growing and aligns with what we want to do—we want to grow and provide jobs in Calgary too.”

Sugar cookies and a chocolate croissant sit on a countertop
Person stands in front of meat counter

On top of using Business Internet for their POS, supporting their Microsoft software, and taking Zoom calls, Lina’s uses Shaw’s Business Phone for all their important connections, both in town and overseas. “We use it for customer calls, taking catering orders, and talking to our vendors all over Europe and America.” The consistent service and reliable connections help Matt in his day to day task of helping a small business grow. “Out of all the headaches you have when you run a small business, you don’t want to deal with one that can be easily solved by having good services,” he says.

That quality of service is what Matt and Lina’s Italian Market strive to provide to their many new and returning customers—a base that grows every day, one wood fired pizza, slice of tiramisu, or wedge of asiago at a time. “When you have quality food and don’t take any shortcuts and your quality shows, your customer becomes everyone.”