Starsky Fine Foods takes over Michael-Angelo's locations

Independent retailer becomes a five-store operation with recent takeover

One popular Toronto area fine foods grocer has taken over another popular Toronto area fine foods grocer.

Three-store Starsky Fine Foods just became a five-store operation after officially taking over the assets and leases for two Michael-Angelo’s.

The smaller Michael-Angelo’s store (about 13,000 sq. ft.) in Aurora, just north of Toronto, was rebranded as a Starsky while the larger Mississauga store (50,000+ sq. ft.) will continue under the Michael-Angelo’s banner for now, said Starsky general manager Peter Sulak. The three existing Starsky stores are in the 30,000 to 40,000 sq. ft. range, according to Sulak. With the deal complete, Starsky grows from about 500 to 600 employees (depending on the season) to about 800 employees, said Sulak.

While Starsky has its roots in Eastern Europe, Michael-Angelo’s was known for its Italian fare reflecting the Calabrian heritage of founder Angelo Pugliese. Starsky will continue to carry some of the products Michael-Angelo’s was well-known for, said Sulak.

Sulak declined to say much about the genesis of the deal, only that Starsky was looking to grow and the opportunity to take over the Michael-Angelo’s operations “came about sort of by chance” with the top executives from both companies completing the deal in short order. “It took probably three or four months from when it started,” said Sulak. (Michael-Angelo’s CEO Michael Pugliese declined to comment for this story.)

It was a good fit because, while the stores themselves were quite different, both companies share a similar operating style and ethos, said Sulak.

“It is a smaller company competing with the giants,” he said. “I think we both had our niche market that we cater to.”

In the short term there could be some logistical challenges adding the two new locations to the Starsky supply chain, said Sulak. But on the other hand, two new locations will give it some additional leverage with vendors down the road.

“The biggest struggle for us, and it’s not just us, is the manpower and human resources aspect of it,” he said. Starsky is constantly hiring but having a hard time finding good staff. “We should have a lot more manpower than we have at the moment.”

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