All four DECA Gems finalists were shocked when they heard the news.
They all had the same reaction as Mary Masellis, owner of Vincenzo’s Supermarket (2406 Danforth): “Oh my God.”
She then said “Thank you, thank you,” and covered her face with her hands, giggling.
Mary and Sam Masellis, the mom and daughter team behind Vincenzo’s Supermarket
“It was surprising. When you think of an auto shop, they don’t have the reputation to be a gem in a neighborhood,” Sunny Gafur of Sunny’s Auto Clinic. “I was happy to even be nominated.”
“I didn’t think we were a hidden gem, because we’ve been around forever,” said Vito Greco, one of three generations that owns and runs Gerrard Spaghetti and Pizza (1528 Danforth). “It’s great. I love it.”
Kelly Ackerman, the owner of Face To Face Games (2077a Danforth) quickly posted the news to Facebook, “Thank you a million times over.” He was giddy and excited. He said he wanted to rush out and congratulate the other three nominees.
Kelly Ackerman, owner of Face To Face Games.
You, our neighbours and friends, nominated 100 businesses in our little catchment as “hidden gems.”
We whittled those down to the Final Four, using three principles: popularity among voters; the impact our #DECAgems marketing prize pack could have on the particular business; and, what this business might give back to the DECA community.
The Final Four stretch across our district. Their owners vary in age from 29 to 83. One of them has been in business on the same spot of the Danforth here for 51 years, another hasn’t reached his first anniversary here.
And their businesses couldn’t be more different: a restaurant; an auto mechanic shop; a gaming store that offers after-school programs for kids and a small Italian grocery store. What they all share is a good story, great potential and a lot of neighborhood love.
Hundreds of you have been voting in our “Battle of the Gems” poll here — telling our panel of judges which of the four you think they should pick.
On Thursday, we will take the judges on at tour of the Final Four, give them a plate of food and a glass of wine, and settle into serious lobbying and discussions.
Will you join us?
We will offer you some food, good conversation and entertaining speeches. Plus, you will get to crown DECA’s first gem. That opportunity will never come again.
Doors open at Hirut, 2050 Danforth (just west of Woodbine), on Thursday May 14 at 7 pm. Judging will start around 8 pm.
We hope to see you there.
Gerard Spaghetti and Pizza’s owners, three generations of Grecos: Nancy, 10-year-old Massimo, Guiseppe and Vito.
PS. If you didn’t hear DECA’s Anita Schretlen on CBC radio’s Metro Morning being interviewed by Matt Galloway about this fabulous project, you can listen to her here. Way to go Anita!