Beloved Ville-Émard Italian grocery store closes after almost six decades
Marché Gregoiré on Monk Boulevard was known to Italians as Gregorio's
Tom Anzovino raises his arm in the air, plastic shot glass in hand.
After 54 years of serving Ville-Émard's Italian community, Marché Gregoiré — known affectionately as Gregorio — is closing up shop.
Anzovino has spent the better part of his life working at the store: First as an 11-year-old who had recently immigrated to Montreal from Naples, Italy and then later as the owner of the shop.
"I have a lot of memories here," he said.
"It was like my whole life."
While LaSalle and Saint-Léonard are now considered the well-known Italian-Montreal communities, for decades, many of the newly immigrated Italians made Ville-Émard home.
"I guess in the '90s, a lot of people moved out. Elderly people were leaving us, some in the cemetery, some in the old folks' home," Anzovino said.
"That's what's killing our business right now."
'It's a ray of sunshine'
Known for its homemade sausages, espressos and array of Italian products, Gregorio's also served as a meeting place where friends could catch up on the day's events.
"It's like a ray of sunshine. If the weather's ugly outside, you come here and everybody's smiling because you know them," said longtime customer Renzo Farina.
"The butcher will offer you an espresso. It's like you go in somebody's house."
Another customer, Joe Maio, remembers his mother bringing him to the store as a child.
"It's very sad. It's another generation closing," he said.
'It's the meats, it's the people. You walk in, it's like family."