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Posted in Case Studies / Projects
10th November 2023
Now in its 55th year of operation, Italian Continental Stores (ICS) has become the established and exclusive food and beverage supplier for Minoli.
Run by Managing Director, Rosario Sardo, the business was originally founded his father Carmelo in 1968, with the aim of providing authentic Italian products to fellow countrymen, who had relocated from Italy to London and the Home Counties for work.
Trading actually started from a second-hand commercial vehicle converted to be a fully fitted mobile shop, originally acquired from the Coop. The fleet grew but was eventually sold off when the company moved into fixed ‘bricks & mortar’ premises. In the interim, the Sardo family also ran a very popular Italian stall within the Slough covered market in the mid ‘70s, before establishing their first retail store in Maidenhead.
Rosario joined the firm in 1982, aged just 17 years and, preferring to be more out-and-about than behind the counter, together with his brother Mario, they set about promoting the stocked products shipped from Italy, directly to restaurants and bars.
Fast-forward 16 years to 1998 and both the retail and trade sides of the business had seen substantial growth, with four established specialist delicatessen and grocery shops and a flourishing B2B wholesale operation that each represented a half-share of the turnover.
Since then, the retail operation has consolidated into their flagship site on Denmark Street in Maidenhead, which was redeveloped into a purpose-built premises in 2012. This impressive facility includes the company’s offices, warehousing and distribution centre, from which their fleet of ten 18T and 3.5T trucks operate. The development is of course fully fitted out with Italian porcelain tiles from Minoli, with the Advance series featuring throughout the retail store, delicatessen and offices, and a stunning 1200/600 highly polished black porcelain throughout the board room and presentation suite.
The public face of ICS is perhaps as a local retailer and delicatessen, for Maidenhead, Cookham, Marlow and the surrounding affluent towns and villages of Berkshire, Surrey and Oxfordshire where it is affectionally known as The Italian Shop and is now in the very capable hands Rosario’s son Massimo. Serving a carefully curated range of some 6,500 products including pasta, cheese, ham, sauces, freshly made delicacies and pastries, they enjoy the custom of regular and very dedicated customers.
The other side of the business is their flourishing wholesale operation, supplying the restaurant, bar and hospitality trade with wines, beers and spirits. Operating across the southern half of the UK and throughout Greater London, clients include both national chains and independent cocktail bars, pubs, hotels and prestigious restaurants, including those with Michelin starred chefs.
Alongside their expertise in importing and distributing genuine Italian foods and essential ingredients, ICS also have an exclusive agreement with the renowned Santomè vineyards near Treviso in northern Italy, for the supply of white and red wines and prosecco. This longstanding relationship has helped them grow their direct supply trade and brings a truly unique offering to the ICS product portfolio, as you can see on their website, here.
For Minoli, ICS is the exclusive provider Santomè wines and prosecco for all our showroom and annual events. They also provide luxurious panettones by Pasticceria Fraccaro for our client gift bags and assemble the delicious hampers of Italian treats for the Minoli team at Christmas.
The business relationship is underpinned by the longstanding friendship that Jonathon Minoli and Rosario Sardo enjoy, but our thanks go to all the ICS team for their continued support and for the delightful delicacies they provide.