For the Benedettis, the family Strathcona corner store is where life happened.
Italian-born Alfonso Benedetti opened Benny’s Market in 1917. About two years later, he met his wife here, who lived across the street and would come over to buy candy. While her teachers didn’t approve due to the large age gap, her mother told her, “You marry Alfonso. He’s got a grocery store. You’ll never go hungry.”
Alfonso’s son Ramon Sr., 87 today, grew up sleeping in a bedroom where the deli is now.
Years later, Ramon Sr. goes into cardiac arrest at Benny’s Market. The firefighters next door are over instantly and Ramon Sr. says he owes his life to them. They know the man well and gave extra care — they’ve eaten many a Benny burger, the classic with cheese and mortadella.
Benny’s sold Italian goods in the early days — pasta, flour and the like — along with treats such as ice cream, soda, chocolate and tobacco. Ramon Sr. started importing and distributing European dry goods in the ’50s, a tradition that continues today with the family’s wholesale business run by son Ramon Jr. and his wife.
Today, Benny's is still very much a family affair.
Read full story in the Vancouver Courier here.