Luella: Tell me a little bit about your family’s beginnings here in Winnipeg.
De Luca: My parents, Vincenzo and Emilia De Luca had four sons, me,(Tony), Peter, Pasquale, and Frank. Dad, along with Frank and Pasquale, immigrated to Winnipeg in 1958. I followed in 1959, while mom and Peter joined us in 1963. We are from the small town of Lappano, Italy, in Calabria. Land and opportunity drew the family to Canada. We started out in the garment industry, then began working at a pharmacy/grocery store on Portage Avenue. Opportunity arose when the owner of the pharmacy decided to close. He encouraged us to buy the building and start our own business.
Luella: What is the most challenging aspect of your work as a grocer?
De Luca: Trying to please the consumer. There is so much product and variety out there now and people have access to it all. Consumers do their own research on products before coming in; they are knowledgeable and specific in terms of the quality and taste they are looking for.
Luella: If you remove all monetary rewards, what drives you out of bed in the morning?
De Luca: Pride. We feel drawn towards sharing our skills and love for food with customers. We feel that simple quality foods are essential to happy memories, especially when it comes to bringing family and friends together. We are proud that our family can be a part of this.
Luella: The Mediterranean Diet is often described as the best approach to lifelong health, since it focuses on fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, olive oil, fish and grass-fed beef. Would you say this is true and has contributed to the health of the family?
De Luca: Oh yes. Good food is always a part of our family gatherings. High quality cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano or meats such as prosciutto di Parma, beautiful olive oils, fresh tomatoes and peppers and basil are staples in our households.
Luella: Name one routine, practice, or ritual that you do daily to provide you with focus and energy to complete your day.
De Luca: No matter how busy we are, we gather together for coffee certain times throughout the day. Some gatherings are shorter than others, but we make a point to sit down and have an espresso and laugh together.
Luella: Expressing gratitude is well documented in the literature as a way of maintaining happiness. What is a form of gratitude that you express?
De Luca: We show gratitude through cooking and sharing food with family. We express gratitude by teaching the children and grandchildren to cook, and spending quality time with them.
Luella: Name a secret indulgence, a guilty pleasure if you will, that your family will engage in daily or occasionally?
De Luca: Eating Italian sausage, peppers and cheese sandwiches. And if there is a good soccer match on – all the better.
Luella: There are 5 modifiable lifestyle factors that I like my clients to consider whenever it comes to maintaining or sustaining overall happiness and wellness:
Relationships, Nutrition, Stress, Movement, Sleep/Relaxation
Pick one of these areas and tell me how you try to optimize daily.
De Luca: Relationships. Gathering family and friends to celebrate life with good food and sharing stories about our day is what brings us the most happiness. It brings smiles to our faces and reminds us why we do what we do.