Xyrakis family celebrate 60 years of running IGA supermarket in Canberra

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This month, the Xyrakis family will celebrate 60 years of owning the IGA supermarket in Ainslie, Canberra. In an interview with The Canberra Times, the Xyrakis’ talk about their intergenerational journey to owning the shop.

Nick Xyrakis immigrated to Australia from Greece in 1948 when he was 22. In 1954, Nick married his wife Alice, who was from the same village of Pyles in Karpathos, Greece. The couple would move to Canberra where they raised three children – Manuel, Irene and Yvonne.

In 1963, Nick and Alice bought the Paragon Supermarket/Milk Bar in Ainslie.

Over the years, the family business would flourish from a supermarket/milkbar, to an IGA Supermarket in 1993, as well as the recent addition of the “Great Cheese Wall of Ainslie.”

Ainslie IGA in the 1970s when it was a Shop Rite store. Picture supplied
Ainslie IGA in the 1970s when it was a Shop Rite store. Picture: supplied.

Manuel, Irene and Yvonne told The Canberra Times they remember their childhood centred around the Ainslie shops.

“I was only three when my parents bought the shop and when Manuel and Irene were at Ainslie Primary School I’d go and visit all the other shop-keepers during the day,” Yvonne said.

Eventually, Irene and Manuel would co-own the family business.

Manuel said that for the Xyrakis’ it’s always been about community and family, rather than just what is stocked on the shelves.

Irene said her sons Keith, Nicholas and Dimitri Mihailakis are the succession plan.

Ainslie IGA will celebrate its 60th Birthday with a party in the park in front of the shops on May 20, from 10am until 3pm.

Source: The Canberra Times

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