Mario’s Words of Wisdom for Business Success

September 1, 2023

Our Founder and President, John Zarrella, always counted (and still does) his father, Mario, his biggest hero and life influence. Mario, a second-generation American, worked in the family grocery store, Zarrella’s Market, and learned many life lessons in the grocery business. He taught John many of his ‘Words of Wisdom.’ Fortunately, that wisdom made it into Research Results’ culture and is very much a part of our success.

Mario’s work ethic was such that 60- and 70-hour weeks were the norm rather than the exception. John often recounts how all his other friends would play wiffle ball after dinner, but because Mario often didn’t get home until after 7 when the store closed, John was always rushing through dinner to get back outside to join. (Maybe that’s why today we have a championship-winning softball team?!?!?). Of course, Mario’s children worked in the store when they were old enough. John worked various jobs in the store but often talks about learning vital customer service skills simply by being a bag boy. When John started Research Results, Mario became his most important mentor, his delivery driver, and the company’s greatest cheerleader.

Here are some of Mario’s Words of Wisdom that we live by to this day:

  • The customer is always the customer! There are always times in any business when the customer wants to do something that is not the best course of action. Nonetheless, the customer is always right, even when they aren’t. The company must find a way to do it and make the customer successful. That doesn’t mean being an order-taker. As your partner, Research Results will advise you and give you the benefit of our experience. But at the end of the day, we will do what you want.
  • Give the customer a consistent experience, whether buying a pack of gum or a $400 cartful of groceries. The same is true of Research Results. While our smallest project probably costs more than a pack of gum, we give the same careful attention to your project, no matter how large or small. Because we know each project is critically important to you and your success. We teach our employees to treat every project as if it were their only one.
  • Always put your best foot forward. Mario always wore a tie to work, even after it became more acceptable for men to wear more casual clothing. By wearing a tie, he communicated his respect to customers and employees. That is especially important in today’s less formal and often virtual work environment. Even if we are not face-to-face with you, Research Results will be putting their best foot forward.
  • No job is too small for anyone. In grocery stores, there is a chore called “facing off.” Essentially, this was to go through the entire store, ensuring each item was pulled to the front of the shelf with the label showing. Mario often went through each store aisle himself, ensuring every item was faced off. Was this the most essential thing he had to do as the Store Manager? Probably not, but showing his employees that no one was above even the most menial chores was important. And so it is with Research Results. No matter your job, if you need help, ask, and you will get it. If a task needs to be done, we do it.
  • Build the entire team. Every member of Mario’s team was critically important. Whether you were a department manager, the newest stock person, or the most senior cashier, everyone was equally important to the proper functioning of the store. So it is with Research Results. Everyone on the team is equally important in serving clients the way they should be served.
  • Remember where you came from. In other words, “be humble.” What you have accomplished could be easily lost. By staying humble and remembering our roots, we ensure our continued success in the future.

At Research Results, we frequently hear stories about Mario and what he taught John – and now our staff. Mario’s ‘Words of Wisdom’ help us serve our customers well and build our culture simultaneously. To keep Mario’s words top of mind, we have an award in his honor. The Mario A. Zarrella Friendship Award – or the “Mazzy” – reflects Mario’s commitment to friendship, relationships, and the human element of the business. The Mazzy is awarded to an employee who has excelled at fostering relationships among clients and/or staff by exhibiting qualities that demonstrate “Research Results is as much partner and friend as it is provider or employer.”

What Words of Wisdom does your company live by? Please comment below!

If you’d like to learn more about how we do business here at Research Results, contact Ellen Pieper, Chief Client Officer, [, or 919-368-5819] today