Stella Luna permanently closing Wellington Street West location

Stella Lina employees pose for a photograph inside the store.
Former Stella Luna Owner Tammy Giuliani with her staff at the Wellington Street West location in 2017. File photo by Ellen Bond.

By Charlie Senack

Stella Luna is permanently closing its Wellington Street West location as it continues to face public backlash.

The once popular gelato shop, which opened its second location in Kitchissippi near Rosemount in 2017, will welcome customers for the last time on Dec. 23. In a Facebook post Stella Luna said all items at that location are now 40 per cent off.

Last week Stella Luna announced it was laying off almost its entire workforce. Owner Zachary Giuliani did not respond to KT’s multiple requests for comment, but blamed economic pressures in a Facebook statement.

“In an effort to survive the economic downturn this winter, and after four years of nationwide financial uncertainty, we have had to lay off almost all of our staff,” the statement read. “Our family members will continue to operate the business throughout the winter in the hopes that spring will present new opportunities and a stronger economy, allowing us to welcome our team back.”

Their Bank Street location in the Glebe and another in Merrickville will reopen after the holidays on Jan. 3. The Carleton Place location permanently closed unexpectedly last month.

Stella Luna faced harsh criticism in early 2022 when former owner Tammy Giuliani, Zachary’s mother, donated $250 to the so-called “freedom” convoy movement. She later apologized, but criticism continued to follow.

The exterior of Stella Lina on Wellington Street West.
The Stella Luna location at 1130 Wellington St. W, is the franchises second location. Photo by Zenith Wolfe.

This Summer, Sharpfle Waffle, which was located a few doors down from Stella Luna’s Hintonburg location, was forced to close due to an exclusivity clause the gelato shop had in place with their landlord, Tamarack Realty Management. The waffle shop later opened at a new location nearby.

At the time, Stella Luna said in a statement of claim filed in Ontario’s Supreme Court they were “suffering irreparable harm” and faced a “real risk that the business will not prosper or even survive in the presence of direct competition.” 

Stella Luna staff told KT they began to worry this summer when many longtime customers did not return. During previous years, a lineup would be around the block.

“We had many customers come in after the convoy and say ‘we love you guys, but we won’t be back.’ It’s also the economy,” said one current employee. “Stella [Luna] is a luxury when most people don’t have money for that right now.”

High Turnover

The retail landscape in the Wellington Street West community is also changing.

Devon Armstrong, interim executive director of the Wellington West BIA, said many storefronts in the neighbourhood have closed up shop this year. They have, however, been replaced by new businesses.

“We are seeing fairly high turnover. There are businesses that are closing, but there are also new ones opening every week,” Armstrong told KT in November. “The turnover is high which keeps vacancy low. A lot of businesses saw pain over the last couple of years and with leases coming due there are some tough decisions that some people are having to make.”

In Nov. 2022, NU Grocery, which was located next to Stella Luna on Wellington St. W, filed for bankruptcy. A ‘For Lease’ sign now hangs on the storefront windows.

Zach and Chris smile and pose for a photo.
Zachary Giuliani (left) and his fiancé Christopher Berneck (right) took over the Stella Luna franchise earlier this year. Photo by Zenith Wolfe.

Leave a comment