Frank & Joseph Ruvo Les Délices Lafrenaie
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“Who’s going to come to an industrial park to buy a cake?”
Long hours, hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit have had longstanding meaning in Joseph Ruvo’s family. Before immigrating to Canada, Giuseppe Ruvo was proudly self-employed transporting goods and cutting wood for fellow villagers in his native town of Castelgrande in the Province of Potenza. As increasing numbers of families were abandoning their homes and seeking job opportunities elsewhere, Giuseppe and his wife, Maria Nicola embarked on their plan to heed the call of Giuseppe’s brother, Stefano who had settled in Montreal in the early 1960s. In May of 1966, Giuseppe and Maria Ruvo, and their sons Frank, Vito and Gerry, travelled to Halifax on the Italian ocean-liner S.S. Cristoforo Colombo, and were soon reunited with their family in Montreal.
Early Beginnings in Montreal
Among his first employments, Frank Ruvo recalls making home deliveries for the Grosseria Italiana in Rosemont. In 1973, Frank purchased his own milk route, and during this time, his father Giuseppe and his brother opened the bakery, Casa del Pane. It was not long before all five of the Ruvo brothers and their father became jointly involved in a family business: Milano Bakery on Jean-Talon East.
A Bakery in a Warehouse
As demand from wholesale clients increased, the production of cakes, breads, and cookies grew exponentially. More space was required to meet new needs, and a warehouse on rue Lafrenaie became the bakery’s home. While no display counter existed for individual sales, family and friends of the Ruvos frequently dropped by to pick up some bread, pizza or cake that had been prepared in surplus. With a constant flow of family and friends stopping by, Frank Ruvo built a small counter, though not without some hesitation as he joked one day: “Who’s going to actually come to an industrial park and buy cake?” People did come, and Joseph Ruvo and his family have been there to greet them.