Coffee with a taste of Italy
TIMES COLONIST, VICTORIA, B.C.
SATURDAY, MAY 12, 2012
BUSINESS
Editor: Darron Kloster > Telephone: 250-380-5235 > Email: tcbusiness@timescolonist.com
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FP MARKETS, B5, B6
Developer
gets digging
in Chinatown
Long-idle site will see 133 condos
DARRON KLOSTER
Times Colonist
PHOTOS BY BRUCE STOTESBURY, TIMES COLONIST
Sean Sloat, left, and Massimo Segato celebrate the opening of Macchiato in the Juliet Building on Blanshard Street.
Coffee with a taste of Italy
Brothers and
partner expand
into Victoria’s
downtown
DARRON KLOSTER
Times Colonist
Ivano Segato, an auto
mechanic who immigrated
to Victoria from Italy in
1975 and later acquired Italian Food Imports — one of
the city’s most popular delis
— sat in his son’s new downtown coffee shop on Friday
with a broad smile.
Macchiato Caffe, open
just a week in the Juliet
Building at Johnson and
Blanshard streets, was
bustling as customers went
elbow to elbow for espressos and fresh baking and
sandwiches. The gurgle of
espresso machines and clatter of cutlery on china
mashed with multiple conversations, prompting
Segato to lean forward to
stress a point.
“I am very proud, and
very happy we came to this
country,” 73-year-old Segato
said in his thick Italian
accent. “My wife [Caterina]
and my boys [Maurizio and
Massimo] built a very good
business and now the boys
build again.
“Over the years, everyone works hard, they are
honest with people and give
good service and food,” said
Segato, adding, fittingly,
“It’s what we say, you don’t
build Rome in one day. It
takes time to build something of value.”
Macchiato, serving Italian-style coffees, baking
and creative sandwiches,
was started six years ago at
the corner of Broughton
and Broad streets by Maurizio and Massimo Segato as
an offshoot to their family’s
famous deli. They brought
in a partner, Sean Sloat,
three years ago and were
on the hunt for a new location. They said the time was
right to expand the brand in
the downtown core.
Caterina and Ivano Segato built Italian Food Imports into one of Victoria’s best delis.
The Blanshard area is
going through a transformation as downtown consumers have gravitated
there after the completion
of the Atrium building, and
local entrepreneurs set up
popular hangouts like Pig
restaurant, Shine Cafe,
Habit Coffee and Zambri’s.
The Segato brothers said
David Chard, who developed the Juliet Building,
was a regular in their Broad
Street Macchiato, and when
the show suite was shut on
the ground floor, he offered
them the space.
Setting up in a time of
economic uncertainty was
not a problem, said Massimo. And neither, it seems,
is having coffee giant Tim
Hortons as a neighbour in
the building.
“Business is all a calculated risk,” he said. “But if
you’re confident in what
you do, do it well and stick
to your principles of good
product and excellent service, it should work out. Timing is never perfect anyway. You just have to do it.
“Being close to Tim Hortons isn’t a bad thing. It can
actually drive people here.
We created something
European, a little bit uppercrust, but without charging
silly prices,” said Massimo.
Sloat was the perfect
choice as partner, said Mas-
simo. He has a long foodie
pedigree as former owner
of Foster’s and manager at
the Canoe Club and with the
Sequoia Group in Vancouver, where he managed
the Tea Room in Stanley
Park.
Massimo said the brothers were taught well over
the 27 years the family has
owned Italian Food Imports.
“Mom and dad always
said if you don’t take care
of your customers — not
only with good food, but
with excellent service —
they won’t come back,” he
said. “If you do, you’ve customers for life, and I think
that’s what we have created
here.”
And it shows. During the
course of a morning interview, Massimo personally
greeted a dozen customers.
The brothers were born
overseas — Massimo in
Italy and Maurizio in
Switzerland — but grew up
in Italian Food Imports at
1114 Blanshard — simply
known as the Italian Deli —
making deliveries, taking
orders and putting together
sandwiches. Caterina, now
70, was the glue of the operation until she stepped back
a few years ago.
“They always worked
hard and liked people very
much,” she says. “They
were never scared to work
hard and help wherever
they were needed.”
Ivano Segato left the
family near Venice, in
northern Italy, in 1975 to
explore a new life in Victoria. After securing his first
job as a mechanic at Peter
Pollen’s Ford dealership,
Ivano sent for his family. He
later worked for West Coast
Honda, where the Market
on Yates is now located,
before eventually opening
his own repair shop.
Plagued by back problems, Ivano was one day
asked by Nino Nenzi, then
owner of Italian Food
Imports, if he would be
interested in buying the
business. In 1985, the offer
was accepted and Caterina,
who had worked in delis in
Italy and Switzerland, took
the reins with Ivano.
Ivano was eventually
forced into retirement after
heart surgery, but Maurizio
stepped up, as did Massimo,
to eventually take over the
business.
“Maurizio, Sean and I
really love what we do and
you have to love doing this
day in, day out,” said Massimo. “If you don’t, you go
crazy. It sounds cliché, but
we love dealing with people.
Making them feel good . . .
it’s a great feeling.”
>On the Street, B2
Anthem Properties is holding a ceremonial groundbreaking this morning on a
$40-million condominium
development in Chinatown,
despite tepid pre-sales .
Robert Marchand,
director of marketing for
Vancouver-based Anthem,
said excavators will move
in on Monday to begin
digging underground parking and preparing foundations for Union, a 133-unit
condo project with 10,000
square feet of ground-floor
retail.
The high-profile property covering 35,000 square
feet between Pandora
Avenue and Fisgard Street
— fenced off and strewn
with weeds and debris for
years — had been the site
of the ill-fated Bambu
condo project that never
got off the ground in 2006.
Anthem, the Vancouverbased company that owns
and operates nearby historic Market Square, said
the five-storey project also
includes restoration of the
1888 Finlayson building
facade and recreating
Victoria’s Theatre Alley,
which will link Chinatown
with the Old Town district.
Pre-sales started a year
ago, but only 45 potential
owners with 15 per cent
deposits have been signed
to date, well below the standard 60 per cent that banks
like to give the green light
for financing.
But Marchand said
Anthem, which owns retail
and residential developments across Western
Canada, anted up equity to
get the project rolling with
the belief that the real
estate market will gather
steam.
“Victoria had a huge
speculative market with
FISGARD
PANDORA
ROBERT CICCOZZI ARCHITECTURE
The Union condominium project will feature street
fronts on Fisgard Street and Pandora Avenue, connecting Chinatown with the Old Town district.
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lots of projects planned in
2007, but a lot of those did
not go forward,” said Marchand. “We feel very confident going ahead at this
time. You’re seeing a lot of
quality builders like Concert, Bosa and ourselves
coming in and seeing good
opportunity now.”
Condominium sales have
been the only real glimmer
in an otherwise lacklustre
real estate market over the
past year.
According to the Victoria Real Estate Board, April
condo sales increased 20
per cent to 171 units compared with March. In April
2011, there were 153 condo
sales. However, prices have
dropped. The average price
paid for a condo was
$327,975 in April, down
from $332,835 in March. In
April 2011, the average
price was $353,858.
Builders are responding
to the condo numbers. For
example, Vancouver developer David Chard
announced last week he
would start breaking
ground on a 90-unit condo
project in James Bay.
Completion of Union is
set for next spring.
The units range in price
from $239,900 for a 500square-foot, one-bedroom
up to $550,000 for 1,200square-foot lofts.
There will be 10,000
square feet of retail space.
Anthem wants to attract a
restaurant, as well as retail
stores, a bakery and coffee
shop.
Anthem CEO Eric Carlson will officially turn the
soil during a ceremony at
11 a.m. today, with members of city council, architect Robert Ciccozzi and
other dignitaries.
The event includes a traditional lion dance ceremony to bring good luck to
the site.
The developer reserves the right to make modifications & changes to building design, specifications, features & floor plans. Suite sizes are approximate; actual floor plans & square footages may vary.
This is not an offering for sale. Such an offering may only be made after filing a Disclosure Statement.
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