Meet Our Guest:
Teresa Spinelli wasn’t destined to lead her family’s grocery business. But life takes
many turns and the leader is what she became.
Born in Edmonton in 1961 Teresa grew up at the Italian Centre Shop, taking her first
steps in the pasta isle. By age 13 she was working in the store regularly as a cashier,
never dreaming she would one day ascend to the Presidency of the company. In 1983
after successfully graduating from the University of Alberta with a psychology degree
her plan was to pursue social work, though admittedly realized social work wasn’t for
her after completing a work term. “I realized I’d be a horrible social worker because I
wanted to take everybody home with me.”
Family misfortune changed the course of Teresa’s life with the loss of her brother,
followed by the passing of her father, Frank Spinelli three years later. “We were a
traditional Italian family, and I had a brother, so automatically, because he was the boy,
he was going to take the business.” In 2000 Teresa stepped in as the president of the
company temporarily; the company having 30 employees and a net worth of 9 million.
Teresa believed the Italian Centre had the potential to be bigger and better.
With her vision of changing the business from a local grocery store to a major importer
and distributor, within a year, she grew the business to 12 million in sales. Today, the
Company has grown 8 times with 4 stores (located in Edmonton and Calgary), 509
employees and sales of 64 million.
Married to Mike Newberry in 1999, and blessed with son Massimo in 2007 Teresa’s
business philosophy comes from her dad, “The more you give, the more you get.” Her
passion is revitalizing the McCauley community around Little Italy in Edmonton’s
downtown and volunteering with such organizations as the Italian Chamber of
Commerce; Mayor’s Task Force on Sustainable Communities, and Edmonton City
Manager’s Advisory Committee. For Teresa, it’s all about people and showing them you
love them with a hearty, bountiful meal.
“For me, it’s not about selling salami. For me, it’s about people. The reason I get up in
the morning is because I want to grow people.” – Teresa Spinelli
Among her notable awards for 10-years running, Teresa has been one of Canada’s Top
100 Women Entrepreneurs as ranked by Profit Magazine; the People’s Choice
Businesswoman of the Year; and has received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in
recognition of contributions to Canada.