Scott Leonard received the Thom McAn Award as the Chelsea High football team’s most outstanding scholar athlete in his senior year in 1982.
As a sophomore running back, he scored a touchdown in a 34-26 victory over Everett that many consider the program’s greatest come-from-behind win on Thanksgiving.
Leonard has never forgotten those glory days in a Chelsea High football uniform or the great times he enjoyed in his childhood in Chelsea.
His love for this city and admiration for those with whom grew up are visible in the new business, Rutland Marketplace, that he has opened in his hometown.
The specialty sandwiches are all named after his Chelsea friends and classmates, ranging from The Montesano (Bobby Montesano) to The Cronin (Debbie Cronin), to The Deeka (Eric DiCrescenzo), to the Constantino (“We love all the Constantinos,” said Leonard).
Rutland Marketplace features Spuckie rolls, “which brings me back to my youth at Leo and Lizzy Gallo’s Market, which was right next to Voke Park.”
“What I remember most about Gallo’s Market was going in there and getting a ham and cheese on a Spuckie roll,” said Leonard.
After graduating from Chelsea High in 1983, Leonard went on to receive a degree in Management and Marketing from Franklin Pierce College in 1987. Leonard worked for five years in sales and management at American Greeting Card Company before taking a management position at Bed, Bath and Beyond and Linens and Things. He continued to work in the corporate world and became chief operating officer of an alternative health products company for ten years.
In early 2012 while on a trip with his wife, Christine, to Key West, Florida, Leonard told her that he wanted to open his own marketplace.
Leonard bought a 4,000 square-foot building in Rutland, put together a business plan, and on October 20, he saw his dream become reality with the opening of Rutland Marketplace, where customers can purchase, deli, product, meats, seafood and many other food items.
“We’re a specialty market that focuses on cleanliness, hospitality, and quality,” said Leonard. “We carry an extensive selection of bakery products made by local bakers from surrounding towns, fresh produce on local and commercial basis, a two-tier deli program with a premium line and some of the other options including authentic Italian cold cuts.”
Leonard said he’s carrying in the store some of the Italian specialty foods that he learned about from his mother, Marie, a resident of Revere.
“All my cooking and all the Italian specialties come from what I grew up with as a young kid,” said Leonard. “My mother taught me that it’s all about family and all about good cooking. My mother told me to be generous and take care of your people.”
Leonard said he never anticipated opening up his own market.
“In my wildest dreams I never thought I’d be where I’m at today,” said Leonard. “When I think back about my days in the Burma Road projects and at Voke Park and through high school, it was all about pride and being together. I can remember playing football in high school with Keith Barry, Paul Driscoll, Tony DiRienzo, and Richie Maronski – they took me in like I was family.”
Two inspirations in his childhood were his older brother, Darren Leonard, and Tony Tiro Jr.
“Tony and Darren played Pop Warner football together and they inspired me to play football and I saw what they did as teammates,” said Leonard. “The Tiros were a big part of the Leonard family and I really respect what Chubby Tiro did for the city and the School Committee and it was all about doing the right thing for the kids.”
Al Zaccheo, owner of Al Zack’s Sub Shop on Washington Avenue, also shaped Leonard’s life in a positive way.
“I saw what it was like to hang out at Al Zack’s and the generosity that Al would show like coming to football practice and giving out sandwiches,” said Leonard. “He cooked us breakfast on Thanksgiving. Al gave of himself.”
Leonard said it was his father, Joe, who taught him to appreciate life and what it has to offer.
“My dad taught me it was all about heart,” said Leonard. “It’s all about never giving up and never letting anything beat you. If you stay true to that, then you can be successful.”
Leonard tells an interesting story about his oldest, daughter and her thoughts when he told her that he wanted to open a new business.
“When I was first sketching plans for the business, she said, ‘Dad, you’re crazy,’’’ recalled Leonard. “She came home from college right before we opened the doors and she cried. She said to me, ‘Dad, I’m proud of you,’ and at that point I knew I made it because when one of your daughters can tell you that they’re proud of you, then you know that you’ve done the right thing.”