By Mario Toneguzzi
“We have been waiting a long time to present our clients with an opportunity like this, and it could not have come soon enough for us,” says Domenic Saverino, owner of Al Flaherty’s which has been in business for 70 years at the same address.
The official opening of the boutique was on Saturday, September 9.
Al Flaherty’s has operated under two families since it opened in 1947 at 2066 Dufferin Street in Toronto, initially as a military surplus store, but always adapting to the changing market. The Saverino family purchased the store from Al almost 50 years ago, promising to maintain the name and the quality of service the business gained a reputation for from the beginning.
Paul Hunkin, website marketing, sales and service with Al Flaherty’s, says Beretta Italy has a history of 500 years of being a family-run operation.
The boutique occupies about 300 square feet of space. Al Flaherty’s exists in about 15,000 square feet which includes its warehouse.
“We’ve expanded our lineup. We’ve probably got in the neighbourhood of about 60 different skews of different products ranging everywhere from neck ties to leather gun cases . . . A little bit of everything they produce,” says Hunkin of the famous Beretta brand.
Available firearms for purchase range from entry-level shotguns of about $1,000 to the SO6 EELL Deluxe Field Gun at $93,000.
The boutique offers a variety of the high-end Beretta product from firearms to clothing to shooting accessories and equipment.
Hunkin says premium Beretta products, in the past, have at best been difficult to find in Canada, if not impossible, forcing those who appreciate the gear and styles to go far afield to New York, Madrid, Paris, and other major cities Beretta operates their galleries out of.
“It’s been a continual brand on the market for an exceptionally long time,” says Hunkin. “They’ve been in business for 500 years all with the same family and they’ve always had a reputation for a really decent level of production quality with a lot of nicer materials used. Everything about them has always been one-step above the next person in the lineup.
“The quality of the wood. The level of the engraving. The amount of research that they do into whatever the next generation will be. And they’ve kind of led the field on that for a couple of hundred years now. So they’re a recognized brand name that has an excellent foothold on the international market. It’s got a heritage aspect to it. It’s the gun that your grandfather had. It’s the gun that your great grandfather had. It’s the gun you’ll be able to give to your grandkids. They maintain their value. They’re always attractive and they’ve always walked a perfect line between elegance and functionality which is difficult to do in the firearms industry.”
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.