Family gem

THE iconic Fremantle store Galati and Sons turns 60 this September.

Co-owner Salvatore Galati says the secret to the deli’s longevity has been its old-world feel and individuality.

Recently they resurrected the “back of the truck specials”, selling ridiculously cheap veggies like a $1 tray of tomatoes, broccoli for 29 cents and cabbage for 30 cents.

The punters absolutely loved it and queued down the street.

• Rina, Santo and Salvatore Galati in their revamped store. Photo by Jenny D’Anger

Galati’s has a good range of deli goods including olives and sun-dried tomatoes, salamis and lots of cheeses, but people mostly go there for the good-value fruit and veg, and the authentic atmosphere and sense of community.

Salvatore and his brother Santo and sister Rina are all co-owners, but they are still hands on in the day-to-day running of the shop.

“We all work on the floor and we still pick up a broom,” Salvatore says.

• Galati’s shopfront back in the day

Despite the store’s longevity and success, a lot of other independent businesses have gone to the wall.

Salvatore says homogenised shops selling the same products and services have rung the death knell for smaller independents that can’t afford high rents.

“The biggest problem is the advent of the franchise.”

He says they looked into a professional refit of the Wray Avenue shop last year, but the proposed design was too expensive, sterile and modern.

So they created their own distinctly Italian vibe, using items like rustic packing crates to display their produce.

The result is a more streamlined shop that is still quirky and individual.

“We didn’t want to lose our identity…our character. We didn’t want to lose that connection.”

• Original owner Antonino Galati, who died in 1988, proudly shows off one of their famous giant cheeses. File photos

Salvatore’s parents, Antonino and Vincenza Galati, opened the shop in 1958 selling produce from a family market garden.

These days most of the fruit and veg comes from the Canningvale Markets, but produce like parsley and garlic are still supplied by Italian home gardeners.

“The cottage stuff we still get from locals,” Salvatore says.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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