Dominic Costa, the founder of Costa’s Foods, first came to Canada in 1913.
He worked in Fort William (Thunder Bay) for a time then moved to Schreiber, Ontario to work on the CPR.
In 1942 Dominic and his Italian bride, Carmella, decided to open a small grocery business. Construction of Costa’s Foodateria began at 224 Columbia Street in a two storey building with a small confectionary department in the front.
Dominic continued to work his job on the CPR while Carmella managed the store.
This tiny lady worked extremely hard but always had a huge smile for all her customers.
Requests for more variety lead to not only more grocery items but also to shipments of meat and produce. Dominic and Carmella became self taught meat cutters and Gina, their young daughter, became the delivery girl. In the summer Gina used her bicycle or wagon and in the winter she trudged through the snow with her toboggan in tow.
As the business grew, so did the family.
Carmella and Dominic had 5 children – Gina, Rosa, Teresa, Tony and Albert. The children all had responsibilities in the store at early ages and continued to work for many years. In 1958 the family and business suffered a huge blow with the death of Dominic but they rallied together and carried on.
Gina and her husband, Joe Commisso, were approached about building another store in the neighboring community of Terrace Bay. In 1960, Joe and his brother-in law, Tony Costa formed a partnership and opened Costa’s Foodmarket. Then 1962 Carmella and her family negotiated a deal for the property across the street from the original small store.
Construction on the new Schreiber store began on the site of the present day, Costa’s Foodateria.
The two family owned and operated businesses serviced their communities throughout the following years.
Carmella Costa passed away on February 23, 2003. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and business woman who worked in the business until she was almost 95 years old and her smile never wavered from her first days in the business on 224 Columbia Street. Two of Carmella’s daughters, Gina and Teresa, along with her grandchildren, Sandra, Gerry and Marc continue to be active at the Schreiber location.
In July 2012, Papa Joe Commisso’s hard-working hands also came to rest. Carmella’s son, Tony, her grandson, Tony Commisso, and great grandson, Brennen are still at work in the Terrace Bay store.
The two businesses that began as a dream of two Italian immigrants continue to thrive and provide exceptional service and quality meats and groceries to communities along the shore of beautiful Lake Superior.