Opening up an authentic Italian gelato shop in downtown Vernon was actually Plan B for Fakri Fituri.
After moving from Libya in 2018, Fituri started a wine touring business, only to have it crushed by COVID.
“I could have moved to Kelowna or Penticton, but I chose Vernon. It’s a very great community to open up a good gelateria,” says Fituri.
Importing the highest-quality gelato from Italy allows him to create a superior product, “So I do what we call a hot process. I cook my own cream in the shop, which is amazing. That’s why my gelato is very soft. People think it's whipped cream.”
Having a high-quality product, excellent customer service, and good growth potential helped La Carraia earn the title of New Business of the Year from the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce.
Another criteria met was to have undergone significant financial risk.
“To open a gelateria and to make the gelato from scratch, the machines are very, very expensive, because I make everything in house, but the reward is there,” says Fituri.
He says the gelato business has been growing over the past two summers, but he had to come up with something that would sustain him through the winter months. He believes he’s got the special ingredient.
“I make soup and sandwiches, bake my own goods. I do cookies and muffins,” says Fituri.
All from scratch, all locally sourced. Fituri and his wife are able to run the business by themselves throughout the winter months, but come summer, their sons join the family-run business.
“Sometimes, we’ll keep it open until 12, we have people come after the lake. Sometimes, I see three generations come here to sit and have a great time sitting outside on my patio.”