Gino Marghella was a young manager at the Italian Centre Shop in Edmonton when he bought his first home back in 2005.

For a young adult, purchasing a home can be an experience filled with anxious moments. Marghella – who is now general manager of the Italian Centre Shop, Alberta, and manages the Calgary store – readily admits that’s the way he felt at the time.

“I had just turned 23, and at that time, I was dating my wife for a long time and we were getting very serious and looking to build a future together,” said Marghella. “My first home was a house that we built in a new area, in a new subdivision in Edmonton just off of Anthony Henday Drive.

“We ended up picking that area because it was very close to her family and I liked how the area felt. I also felt very comfortable with the homebuilder because I liked the design and openness of the house. . . . I was young, but I was also scared because at that time the interest rates were high. My first house was $250,000, and in 2005 that was a lot of money for a house.”

Marghella says he is from a very traditional Italian family that doesn’t believe in renting. The goal was to buy a house, pay off the mortgage, and once the mortgage was paid off, you were set for life.

“The fondest memory was getting the house and being able to kind of really make it your own.”

“We locked in for a five-year term for our mortgage like any good Italian boy would because we were very scared of risk at that time,” he said. “It was very unheard of at that time to take a variable rate.”

The home Marghella and his future wife, Sara, bought was a two-storey, 1,800-square-foot house with a front-attached garage. The couple stayed in that home until moving to Calgary in 2015 to open the Willow Park Italian Centre Shop location.

“It was a really good investment at that time. I didn’t realize it when I signed the deal because 2006 was a boom,” said Marghella.

“The fondest memory was getting the house and being able to kind of really make it your own. I remember finishing the deck with my father-in-law, my father coming there and doing the concrete, my grandfather planting the trees in the backyard, the landscaping. Really, just building family there.”