Age, illness lead couple to sell Italian grocery store CENTRAL -- Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

January 04, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

With tears of affection welling in her eyes, Kay D'Eugenio described how she feels about selling LaStrada, the Italian grocery store she has run in Westminster for the past 6 1/2 years.

Settlement for the Main Street store, in the Westminster Exchange, was scheduled for today.

"I'm really going to miss it," she said. "I love meeting people and we've made an awful lot of friends."

But the passing of time, the 60- to 70-hour workweeks and spinal arthritis have led Ms. D'Eugenio and her husband, Tony, to sell the business that has been featured in newspapers throughout the state.

Ms. D'Eugenio turned 56 on Saturday, and her husband will be 55 in May, she said.

"We're getting up in years," she said. "We're both a little old to keep up this pace. We need to work at something that will be a little easier."

Ms. D'Eugenio said her decision to open LaStrada came after she was dissatisfied with the service she received at an Italian grocery store in Baltimore. Not only did the clerk cut the meat wrong in her $100-plus order, but he was rude to her as well.

"I said to my husband, 'I can do this,' " she said. " 'We need [an Italian] grocery store in Westminster, I can be nice, and I won't sell people crooked meats.' "

The new owners, Paul and Sue Grandinetti of New Windsor, expressed interest in buying the business a year ago, but Ms. D'Eugenio and her husband held out until now.

Mr. Grandinetti "came in last year after the holidays when I was dipping ice cream," Ms. D'Eugenio said.

Her arthritis was bothering her, and she kept dropping the ice cream scoop, she said. The incident led to a discussion about how she might need to sell the business soon because of her illness, Ms. D'Eugenio said.

"He said that I should contact him if I ever wanted to sell," she said. "Finally, in December, I said 'Go for it.' "

All the recipes and products carried in the store will remain the same, even though Mr. Grandinetti comes from a different part of Italy from the D'Eugenios, she said.

"Paul comes from Southern Italy, and they cook differently than people from the north," Ms. D'Eugenio said. "But we advised them not to change the recipes, because it could hurt them."

Ms. D'Eugenio declined to disclose the selling price.

"I will tell you that we built this business from nothing to over six figures," she said.

Her plans include training Ms. Grandinetti in January, going away on vacation in February and finding another job in March.

Mr. D'Eugenio also will begin looking for work in March.

"I don't know [what I'll be doing]," Ms. D'Eugenio said. "Some job that I won't be on my feet all the time."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.