Both Vince and Geraldine came to Australia as migrants. They both came from poor working class families.
Vince was from a fishing family – they had fishing boats and would sell their seafood to the merchants who would on-sell seafood to restaurants and retailers. From an early age, Vince knew the basics. His mother, a born businesswoman, would sell product from their family farm. Goat milk, produce, eggs and whatever they could make by hand and sell.
Her famous phrase was “If you don’t start something by buying something then nothing will eventuate”. Literal translation – “who doesn’t buy, doesn’t sell, doesn’t rise and doesn’t fall”.
Vince knew that his life would be the same as his parents and grandparents; he would either stay with professional fishing or join the Merchant Navy and become a mechanic or engineer. It meant months away from family traveling to destinations all over the world.
Neither lifestyle appealed to him so he decided to jump ship in Australia in search of a better life. His various jobs and roles gave him great exposure to the world of business which always fascinated him. He was always destined to run his own business, probably because he didn’t like to be told what to do!
Geraldine came from a rural town in southern Italy called San Fele. Her father came from a farming background whereas her mothers family were all business people that were involved in cheese making.
Being the first born of eight children, her father quickly enlisted her as a staff member as he would contract his services as a carrier, an “Uber Donkey” is what you’d call it these days. You’d contract Domenico Dileo to carry wood, feed or supplies from the country to the town.
Geraldine was charged with selling the wood and would negotiate with the locals as to what price they would pay for the wood they needed for winter heating and cooking. The locals were very ‘tight’ so she learned a lot of negotiation skills at an early age.
These skills both learned by Vince and Geraldine who would later open up a few businesses once they were married formed the foundation of the value system for Sandhurst Fine Foods.
In the next episode we talk about how they met in Australia and created their very first retail business with no money, and a lot of hard work.