Local characters and larrikins
YOU don't have to speak to Vince Garreffa for long before his love for Perth shines through.
The 65-year-old mastermind behind Mondo Meats in Inglewood and Osborne Park came to Australia from Italy as a five-year-old in 1956.
His father had set off four years before, working in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide before settling on Perth and sending for his wife and son.
Vince said his father brought them to paradise and he's never forgotten the gift.
“This city has looked after me all those years,” he said.
“When I think about Northbridge, I started at 14 in the butcher's shop with Frank Torre and Sons in Lake Street. I fell in love with all the mixed communities, every race that you could think of.
“This city has grown around me and become a city of the world.”
Vince also credits his parents with his work ethic.
“Mum and dad are gone now but when they came to this country they were stone broke,” he said.
“The only thing they really had was an empty suitcase to make it look like we had possessions.”
As a result, he's been working since the age of nine, when he started selling newspapers with his brothers.
Now a typical day begins at 5am with the chirp of his mobile phone, sorting out staffing for his retail and wholesale businesses.
“My day seems to plough along: I answer heaps of emails, heaps of text messages and do lots of quotes for people who are having parties,” he said.
“Sometimes we might find time for a bite of lunch, other times we just build up an appetite for dinner.”
And the hard work doesn't stop at home time, with Vince becoming a devotee of Crossfit a couple of nights a week.
As part of our #SnapPerth campaign, we asked Vince what he thought was the most photogenic part of Perth. He opted for Elizabeth Quay and the Bell Tower, but said he much preferred looking at the city's rich history.
“In my heart, the ones that I get the most pleasure from are looking at old photos of someone's business in the ’60s and ’70s,” he said. “When I look at a picture of an old building, I see a lot of stories.”
Vince Garreffa reckons this city has been good to him.