|About Italian Centre Shop .../p2|
With the ever-expanding grocery and deli operations, separate warehouses, and two homes, the family's holdings were the largest in the now bustling and busy neighborhood that grew to become Edmonton's "Little Italy."
They celebrated the arrival of each new year with Frank's traditional New Year's Eve gala. They shared their business, their homes, and their family spirit with the community. Frank indulged his passions for card games, hunting and soccer and, as Edmonton Journal columnist Judy Schultz once noted, almost single-handedly managed to "turn on" all of Edmonton to a taste of Italy.
With his retail operation in full swing, Frank expanded as a wholesaler, developing the Unico Distribution Centre to supply imported Italian produce and products to stores and restaurants across western Canada.
The Spinelli family played a tremendous role in bringing the traditional culture of their homeland to Alberta. Frank diligently supported a wide variety of local Italian organizations; Rina hosted the Ladies of the Holy Rosario and the Santa Maria Goretti Parish. Their hospitality embraced immigrants and locals alike.
Following in her parent’s footsteps, Teresa has worked with the Giovanni Caboto Society, supported a variety of inner-city organizations, and assisted in developing the decorative signage and street furniture that now characterize the Little Italy neighborhood.
Well regarded, remembered and respected, Frank Spinelli passed away, succumbing to cancer, in 2000.
Today, daughter Teresa runs the family business, recently expanding to include an upscale new location just South of 51 Avenue on 104-A Street. Teresa proudly remembers her dad as a man who treated everyone the same, with courtesy and respect. Her memories are shared by many.
"A while ago I hired a young man," she says. "His father called to thank me for hiring his son. He told me he had come with his family from Chile as a refugee when he was seventeen years old back in the 70s. They came shopping at the store and my father welcomed them."
"My father was very intuitive and knew this family needed help; he also understood how proud this family was. Quietly, as they walked around the store, my father filled a box with groceries and put it in their car.”
“He was the best example I know of 'the more you give, the more you get' "
10878-95 Street 780.424.4869
Spinelli's Bar Italia
10878 95 Street
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