LA NONA, as Luisa Quirici is known in Fremantle Malls, looks around despondently.
After 47 years in the business, she is closing the jewellers she and husband Silvano built from scratch.
Unlike many neighbouring shops which have disappeared during Fremantle’s economic slump, she says Quirici Jewellers has been trading well. It’s just time to retire.
Ms Quirici was 11-years-old when her parents decided to leave Italy and sail to the antipodes. While most Italian migrants who found their way to Fremantle came from the country’s south, her family had lived in Tuscany where hard times meant jobs were hard to come by.
Her future husband also had Tuscan roots.
After marrying in 1959 the pair decided to open a jewellers on South Terrace with the little money they had saved. Business went well and two years later they moved to a bigger shop in Market Street.
Ms Quirici was a savvy business manager and in 1983 the couple opened a second shop in the mall on William Street.
When Mr Quirici died in 1999 Ms Quirici closed the Market Street store.
“This shop has given me the good life I have,” she told the Herald, her accent still thick with Tuscan inflections.
She’d wanted to pass it on to her kids since “it’s a shame it started from zero and now it’s closing down” but none were interested.
Quirici is one of many business started by Italian families in Freo more than 50 years ago which are now starting to disappear.
Ms Quirici says business and family life meant she never really immersed herself in Italo-Freo life, but she has noticed the era of Italian entrepreneurs drawing to a close.
Quirici will close after Christmas.
by MARTA PASCUAL JUANOLA