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Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Owner of the Italian Centre Shops

Episode 002: Bringing Us Closer to Family, Growth and Good Lasagna



Welcome to the Inner Circle. Today, Carrie is joined with Teresa Spinelli, Owner and President of Italian Centre Shop, and sought-after speaker and visionary. Teresa gives us a peek into her world, and how she runs a multi-million dollar business while carrying on the Italian tradition of “family first”. She talks about the influence her family had on her values, her passion to give others the opportunity to grow, and the future goals of Italian Centre Shop. Finally, she shares a few key lessons she has learned in business, and the importance of empowering one another.


[3:40] Teresa’s upbringing had a huge impact on the course of her life. She watched her parents work 12 hour days, and still have time to dedicate to family and togetherness. Her father’s ability to give back to the community inspired her to live a life where she could do the same.

[4:35] Teresa’s parents were born in Italy and immigrated to Canada, where she was later born.

[6:41] While she loved being in the store and taking part in the community surrounding it, Teresa didn’t plan on running the business. However, when her brother and dad passed away, it was left up to her to carry the torch.

[7:59] Teresa describes the challenges of taking on the business, and the realization that she had a passion for giving people growth opportunities. Opening a second location was also another way for her to hire great people and assemble a team of leaders.

[14:06] Teresa started to gain the trust and respect of the employees when she started to focus on her “why”. For her, it was, and always will be, the people.

[17:33] If the Prime Minister can make time for health and wellness, so can you. Teresa recounts a dinner where he showed an important and welcomed example of putting our well being first.

[20:41] Teresa shares her beautiful experience in the adoption process, and how they went from no baby to her son Massimo over the course of a very short period.

[27:02] Teresa and her husband collaborated to the work/life balance with a playpen in her office. Massimo is growing up connected with the employees and the customers, much like Teresa did in her childhood.

[30:20] Teresa credits 70 million in sales and 509 employees to the smart and hardworking team around her.

[32:10] A few of the key lessons Teresa has learned throughout the years: trust your gut and don’t be afraid to let people go and move on if the opportunity doesn’t serve them any longer.

[33:42] Italian Centre helped feed 100,000 families in Edmonton, with their Earth Group and Earth Water Project partnership.

[34:35] As a busy mom, Teresa realizes how tough it is to cook and feed your family healthy food, hence the Massimo line of food. The food is family recipes, and you can read all the ingredients.

[37:53] Share your story, and listen to the stories of others.


  • “We always had to be together at the dinner table. It didn’t matter whether you had homework or were getting married. Dinner was dinner.”

  • “The more you give, the more you get back.”

  • “I only hire people that are smarter than me.”

  • “Women have to empower each other.”


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