Corti Brothers: Sixty Years in Business: 1947-2007
The Meda Brothers store was for sale since the Meda brothers had decided to break up. My father Frank and my uncle Gino bought this active business and changed the name to Corti Brothers, inheriting also most of the previous ownership’s employees and products. Our ravioli, for example, was one of the products we inherited and continue to make. On January 2, 2007, Corti Brothers celebrated its 60 years of commercial activity.
A lot of changes have happened in this time period. Our store went from having wooden floors with sawdust on them and wooden refrigerated cases, to metro shelving, scanner check stands and an under ground wine cellar. We had a number of stores: at one time there were four Corti Brothers locations. Now again, there is one.
We have also seen the grocery business go from a service based business--all of it--to self service--most of it--back to a “new”service business. Corti Brothers has never changed: we began with service and continue to do only a service business.
Originally, Corti Brothers was an Italian store, a delicatessen if you will. We became a supermarket in 1952, selling in this new food store format everything traditional we had in the original Meda store. We have kept this format and expanded on it: not just Italian products, but products from everywhere good foods are produced.
Our advertisement in the Sacramento Bee of 29 October 1952 giving notice of our move to our second store reads in part... “(Corti Brothers will) carry the finest imported and domestic cheeses, spices, olive oils, etc., only on a larger, more modernized scale” and that they will continue “ (the)high standards of courtesy, quality and economy that has gone on before.” I cannot imagine doing otherwise.
What can I say about 60 years of commercial activity? Maybe, if we keep trying, we’ll get it down so that we can continue to service our customers for, say, another 60 years!
Last year we offered the wonderful baked spring cakes from the LOISON family bakery near Vicenza, in Italy’s Veneto region for the first time. This spring we offer the same cakes with an expanded lineup. Our customers are acquainted with the Christmas panettone and pandoro. No less traditional are the Spring/Easter cakes; the dove shaped Colomba; the sponge cake textured, almond flavored Veneziana; and the traditional raised Venetian cake, probably the origin of them all, the orange flower flavored Focaccia Mandorlata.
Light textured, citrus flavored and fragranced, the Loison Colomba, comes in several formats: the traditional Colomba Mandorlata, with citrus and almonds; Colomba Alla Pesca with delicate, candied peach pieces; and new for 2007, Colomba Mandarino with the aromatic peel of the Sicilian late mandarins from Ciaculli, a “presidio Slow Food.”
There is more mystique about these cakes than actual knowledge. Etymological dictionaries date the first use of their names only to the middle 1800s when their industrialized production started. There may be some truths about the stories grown up around these cakes–their medieval or later origins–but what is certain is we have them and certainly should enjoy them.
For 2007 we can also offer large sized Colomba and Focaccia both wrapped or in gorgeous apple green colored boxes. The Colomba is in 2, 3, and 5 kilo sizes; Focaccia in 2 kilo size. Nothing could be better for a large gathering for Easter lunch or a house gift for a spring party.
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