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Sunday, November 17, 2019
 
 
P12074 - The original building of La Stella Supermarket, 1969. Courtesy of Stella Occhinero
  Vincenzo Pugliese and Teresa Covelli were married in Cellara, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy, in May 1946. Their first daughter, Stella, was born in 1947 in Cellara. In November 1950, the Pugliese family immigrated to Canada to join Stella Sr., Vincenzo’s mother, who was already in Canada. Stella Sr.’s husband had unfortunately been killed in a mine accident in 1938. Vincenzo, Teresa and Stella landed on Pier 21 in Halifax. Later, they took the train to Abitibi County in the province of Quebec. Vincenzo and his family arrived in a small town called Malartic. It was a very cold county and they were surprised by the large snow banks and snow falls.

Vincenzo got a job in the gold mine called “Malartic Gold Mine” and worked there for 14 years. With time he began a second job. He bought farm animals and sold the meat to grocery chain stores. In November 1951, Adela was born and in September 1955, Eugenio was born.

In January 1958, Teresa got a job in the fruit and vegetable department, in a supermarket called “The Economy Store”. The children went to school, but, to continue their education, the children had to leave Malartic. In 1960, after an argument with nonna Stella, Stella Jr. was able to pursue her education. Stella came to Windsor, close to her relatives. She graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in Windsor in 1965.

   
P12074 - The original building of La Stella Supermarket, 1969.
Courtesy of Stella Occhinero
 
 
P12089 - Imported pasta isle at La Stella Supermarket. Courtesy of Stella Occhinero
 
   
P12089 - Imported pasta isle at La Stella Supermarket. Courtesy of Stella Occhinero
 
 
La Stella Supermarket today, 2005. Courtesy of Heather Butt
 
   
La Stella Supermarket today, 2005. Courtesy of Heather Butt
 
 
In September 1964, the Pugliese family moved to Windsor to further their children’s future. The opportunities in Malartic were very limited. That same year the family opened a supermarket, together with Gino Maio, Vincenzo’s cousin. The supermarket was called “M. and P. Supermarket”, located at 910 Howard Ave. It was a family owned business. The supermarket was doing very well – but the partnership was not. In August 1966, Vincenzo and his cousin, Gino, split up. Vincenzo started to work at Chrysler’s. Stella Jr. graduated from Teacher’s college and got a job in 1967. In 1969, Vincenzo and Stella Jr. opened La Stella Supermarket at 948 Erie Street E. The name “La Stella” was chosen because it sounded better than “La Teresa” and Stella was the name of both Vincenzo’s mother and daughter.

Eugenio (Jimmy) Pugliese, Vincenzo’s son, competed in bicycle races since the age of 11. In 1975, Eugenio was chosen among six riders to represent Canada in the world races in France and Switzerland.

In 1975, Stella got married and went to live in Italy. She has three children: Maria Clara, Teresanna, and Saverio. Eugenio took over the store. He became the manager of the supermarket and remains so to this day. In 1983, Eugenio got married and his wife, Mary, began to work at the store. Eugenio and Mary have five children: Teresa, Natalia, Daniele, Vanessa and Vince Jr. The other sister, Adela, and her husband, Rick, have six children: Jesse, Kory, Adam, Ricky, Aaron, and Deanna.

Throughout the years to the present all the grandchildren helped to operate this family business. Today the store is operated by some family members and several employees.

 
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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

 

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