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Cambridge institution Cardullo's finds hidden treasure during renovation

Posted by Brock Parker  April 23, 2013 12:43 PM

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Cardullo's.jpg

Cardullo's Gourmet Shoppe was surprised to find the delicatessen's original sign Tuesday morning when it began work to install a new awning. Photo courtesy Cardullo's.

Touching up a Harvard Square institution Tuesday morning, Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe found a hidden treasure that dates back to the store’s opening in 1950.

cardullo's2.jpgWhen work began to take down the old Cardullo’s sign on the store’s Brattle Street façade Tuesday, the delicatessen found its original sign that had been hidden from view for more than 50 years.

Once a plastic sign that was put up around 1958 was removed, the original Cardullo's sign was discovered. Photo courtesy Cardullo's.

Marc Cardullo, the director of sales and marketing and part of the third generation of the Cardullo family to run the store, said they had no idea that the original sign was there.

“To see that old sign was pretty cool,” said Cardullo. “It’s missing one letter [the "i" in delicatessen], but it’s still up there, which is crazy.”

Cardullo said the gourmet shop, which sells everything from coffee and chocolate to Kosher gift baskets, has been renovating in phases for a few years and for the last six months has been going through the permitting process to replace a sign that was installed at the store around 1958.

The business was founded by Marc Cardullo’s late grandfather, Frank Cardullo, in 1950 in what Marc said was about half the amount of space.

Marc is 40 years old, and he said that before Wednesday morning he’d never seen the original sign for the shop, other than in old black and white photographs, and didn’t know it was behind sign the shop was seeking to replace.

He said the family will now have to decide if they will leave the original sign in place or take it down. A new awning that will feature the Cardullo’s name has already been ordered and the shop may decide to just install it over the original sign.

Cardullo said the awning is the latest part of a renovation that has included the installation of new air-conditioning, shelves and other equipment. He said the shop is also planning to put in new floors.

The shop is one of the oldest businesses in Harvard Square and Cardullo said he and his sisters are hoping the family business will be in good shape to pass to the fourth generation.

“It’s just rare to see a store like ours last this long,” he said.

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