SCHENECTADY — After a century-plus in business, a neighborhood institution is closing its doors in Schenectady’s Little Italy.
Garofalo’s last day will be Saturday.
The shelves and coolers were already looking a bit bare Tuesday in the little market at 16. N. Center St., which is famous for its homemade sausage.
The store’s Facebook page was inaccessible Tuesday, but the voicemail greeting on its telephone conveyed the news of the closure. Sausage, the message told customers, will be in short supply in these last few days.
A long-running dispute with another family member apparently led to the shutdown. City records indicate the store and two nearby properties owned by the Garofalo family are up to date on property taxes.
The staff behind the counter, all members of the family that started the shop in 1904, took turns waiting on customers and talking with them about the impending closure Tuesday. They declined, however, to discuss the matter with The Daily Gazette.
Neighboring business owners in the Littly Italy district were saddened by the impending departure of the 112-year-old business.
“I have no clue what happened; I just know we’re going to miss them very dearly,” said Roie Angerami, co-owner of Civitello’s Italian Pastry Shoppe around the corner, a relative newcomer at only 97 years old.
Angerami said her parents and grandparents were friends with the previous generations of Garofalos, who passed their skills down through the family.
“It’s like the best sausage in the world,” Angerami said. “She carries a lot of very good quality meat.”
Another neighbor, David Ditoro of Rossi & Ditoro Funeral Home, also is a fan of the business and its signature product.
“They make the best sausage I’ve ever had in my entire life,” he said.
He said the Ditoro family opened their funeral home in 1907 and shared space in the early years with the Garofalo family business. The mortuary soon moved to larger space, but in the ensuing decades, the Ditoros continued to buy sausage from the Garofalos and the Garofalos said goodbye to their loved ones at the Ditoros’ funeral home.
Today, Rossi & Ditoro is on Union Street, a short distance from the sausage shop.
“It truly is a loss to the community,” Ditoro said of the impending closure.