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Let’s talk about women of Little Italy

In occasion of the International Women's Day, we thought we would pay tribute to the women who make Little Italy this unique and charming neighborhood. For those who do not know it yet, if our neighborhood shines, it's partly thanks to the many women entrepreneurs that are behind the success of some of your favorite businesses.

Did you know that in Italy Mimosa flowers are given to women on the occasion of March 8th??

Today, we reveal an exclusive portrait of inspiring women from Little Italy.

We present Pina Corneli from the Corneli Restaurant, Linda Girolamo from the Napoletana Pizzeria and Elena Faita from the Dante Hardware Store.

Pina Corneli: Family Entrepreneur

Pina Corneli is one of the four owners of the Corneli Restaurant, inaugurated in 1960 by her father and uncle. The one who started working in the restaurant from adolescence, now manages the establishment with her two brothers, Alex and Nicolas, as well as with another partner. The quartet forms a well-honed team. Everyone has their role, but all major decisions are made in consultation.

It was largely thanks to Pina that the Corneli Restaurant returned to Little Italy six years ago. In 1987, the restaurant moved to Montreal North where the Italian community was growing. For Pina, returning to Little Italy was natural. It was back to the origins of the Corneli Restaurant in a neighborhood that has enormous potential and is constantly growing. When asked what is the hardest part of being an entrepreneur in the restaurant business, Corneli says that it usually has to be work-family balance.

She says that fortunately, as she works with her brothers, her schedule is flexible and adapted to her role as a mother. Although she loves her restaurant, Pina considers her role as a mother to be much more important than her job as an entrepreneur. Pina Corneli says she is extremely lucky to be able to do what she is passionate about while devoting all the necessary time to her three children.

Linda Girolamo: Entrepreneur in the soul from her childhood

Linda Girolamo and her big sister are the proud owners of the first pizzeria in Montreal: Pizzeria Napoletana. Opened in 1948, the Pizzeria Napoletana at that time had only thirty seats.

In 1990, Linda Girolamo's father decided to enlarge the Pizzeria to better serve her large clientele, who often had to queue before being able to sit down to eat. This expansion is virtually the only change Napoletana has seen since it opened. For Linda, the success of the restaurant is based on the consistent quality of the dishes served. That's why everything is handmade according to traditional recipes.

For the record, Linda has been working at Pizzeria Napoletana since she was nine. She starts doing the dishes, and at age 11, she starts the room service. From an early age, Linda is passionate about catering and knows she will one day take over the family business. What she did. For several years, Linda and her sister manage the Pizzeria Napoletana with brio. Then, four years ago, Linda began the process to create a project that is dear to her heart from an early age: the opening of her own shop.

Opened since 2018, the Miss Napoletana store is a boutique manger. Located opposite the restaurant, Miss Napoletana, will offer a variety of gourmet products from the Pizzeria Napoletana and imported directly form Italy. You may find Linda soul in that cute store. 

Elena Faita: Traditional Entrepreneur in the Age of 2.0

In Montreal, everyone knows Elena Faita, co-owner of the renowned Dante Hardware and Mezza Luna Cooking School. Recognized for her love of cooking, Elena conveys her passion to everyone around her. Founded in 1956, Dante Hardware is a shop specializing in the sale of kitchen accessories. The shop also includes an armory counter.

In short, the Dante Hardware Store is a unique historic trade loved by Montrealers. In terms of entrepreneurship, Ms. Faita has a traditional inclination. She likes direct contact with her clients. When a person enters the Hardware Store looking for a pasta machine, Elena and her team members take the time to carefully explain the features of each machine and how they work. Yet, under the wise guidance of her children, Elena has recently started trading online.

Since two years, customers of Dante Hardware can now buy from the web. Although she is not a fan of the web, Elena admits that selling Dante Hardware products online is a great idea. This enhances the buying experience of loyal Dante Hardware customers living outside of Montreal. For Elena, e-commerce also allows her to introduce her store and products to all of Canada. Despite her love for traditional entrepreneurship, Elena admits she loves social networks. In addition to these personal accounts, Elena supplies the accounts of Dante Hardware and Mezza Luna School herself. For her, it's an opportunity to share her recipes, her favorite products, events and thoughts with her clients. In short, Elena Faita is a traditional and passionate entrepreneur who has adapted easily to new technologies.