Meet the Vegan food bloggers that moved from New York to Philly to start their own grocery store
Owners Carmella Lanni and Carlo Giardina inspired others with their food stories before opening up a shop of their own in South Philly.
Carmella Lanni and Carlo Giardina have been friends for years.
While growing up in the Bronx, Lanni always favored delicious wholesome food that was healthy and nourishing.
“I became a vegan, this was about 11 years ago,” Lanni, co-owner of V Marks the Shop, told AL DÍA News in a recent interview.
Both her and Giardina have a unique appreciation for vegan food and started their journeys as food bloggers.
“There wasn’t enough of us,” she said.
But beyond the blog, Lanni and Giardina always planned on becoming business owners, just not as soon as it actually happened.
It was Giardina that made the initial leap.
“We were in Texas at a business conference and people would get up and say what inspired them,” she said. “My business partner got up and said that he was so inspired that we are opening up a grocery store, I was so shocked.”
From then on, they both took the initiative to get their business booming, but they didn’t want to settle in New York and moved to Philly.
They soon found an irresistible space in Point Breeze and decided to settle down.
They opened V Marks the Shop in March 2019.
“Before we opened up, we did a lot of pop-up events for businesses in Philly like Tattooed Mom,” she said.
As business began to thrive, Lanni’s family gave her their two cents, and was initially confused about why she wanted to open up a vegan grocery store.
“My family thought I was crazy, but they definitely are supportive,” she said jokingly.
It was not long before locals caught wind of the grocery store and lined up to check out the new spot.
An underserved population that’s found a home for those with food allergies.
“A lot of people come in and have different food allergies, we provide soy-free and gluten-free,” she said.
Lanni’s place also provides beyond burgers, tofurkey products, and plant-based cheese.
On top of the abundance of vegan foods, they have for humans, Lanni’s small shop also offers vegan dog food.
They also are supportive of others in the neighborhood.
“We also try our best to support other local businesses like Blackbird frozen pizza, Conscience Cultures, and Fishtown Pickle Projects,” she said.
In the local coffee scene, Lanni supports roasters by offering their coffee at her grocery store. She does the same for local vegan bakeries like High Fidelity and Little Yentas, in Port Richmond.
“The vegan grocery store business is very small,” she said. “We all need to support one another.”
So far, there are only around 30 vegan grocery stores in America.
Lanni is amazed by the positive reception that she has received from her neighbors.
V Marks the Shop is well known for its welcoming manner and wants locals from all walks of life to give their grocery store a shot.
So take a trip to the pleasant area of Point Breeze and pay a visit to Lanni’s grocery store on the corner of 15 and McKean Streets.