Small Ontario grocery store celebrates 100 years

Started by their grandfather a century ago, three sisters continue business
7/15/2015

It's not every day that a small independent grocery store turns 100.

But Picone Fine Food (originally Picone's Food Market) in Dundas, Ont. gets that distinct honour. Started by Joseph Picone Sr. in 1915 after coming to Canada from Italy, the store is now run by three of his granddaughters. It's still got some of its original charm in the form of the tin ceiling and parts of the shelving.

The store offers a mix of in-house fare (things like pastas and desserts) and locally grown produce, in addition to meats and breads. It also stocks vegan, wheat-free and dairy-free goods.

Sharing a sentiment with which many small, family-run grocers can relate, one of Picone Sr.'s granddaughters, Lisa Picone, recently told The Globe and Mail, "It's hands-on and it becomes who you are. When it gets in you, it gets in you."

Competing in a world of bigger supermarkets has involved providing customers with high-quality food and excellent service. It also takes the skill of working closely with family and being able to compromise. "We're so small there's not a lot of time afforded to stay in disagreement," said Picone.

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