End of an era

Fifty-two years after Orlando Cardamone set up a little grocery business in Fairfield, the now-thriving Cardamone Gourmet Supermarket is changing hands. The founder's daughter, Marisa Pannunzio, recalls being left to guard the family cart at Footscray Market as a small child while her father bought fruit and vegetables. Her own children have grown up in the business. Daughter Belinda, 36, says the family has had a few sad moments since selling on September 1. ''I was saying to my sister, 'Do you realise our children will have no memory of this store and it's been such a huge part of our life?''' The family's catering business, Marisa's Kitchen, will continue to supply its popular sauces, dips and pasta dishes to Cardamone and 37 other stores around the state. New owner Hui Li says the supermarket will remain a family-run business.

Cardamone Gourmet Supermarket, 143 Station Street, Fairfield, phone 9481 0586.