The original business that opened at 83 East Main Street in Milford dates back to the early 1900s when Italian immigrant Nicola Oliva opened an ice cream parlor. Unfortunately, many years later he became ill and the business closed during World War II. Eventually another local family opened and ran their own business in the location for twenty years. All that changed in 1961 when Nicola’s sons, Anthony (also known as “Babe”) and Joe Oliva decided to open a market where their father had started.
Since then, the market has remained at the original location at 83-85 East Main Street in Milford. Now run by Babe’s children, Oliva’s Market has transformed from a small “mom and pop” corner market into a thriving gourmet deli, catering service, and gift shop due to the hardworking nature of the Oliva Family. Babe and his wife Mary instilled in their children a work-ethic and dedication to the family business that has fostered its growth.
Babe and Mary’s oldest child, Nicola, attended culinary school and then went to work for Boston Corporate Food Service. He eventually returned to the family business and has run the catering department at Oliva’s since its inception in 1983. Gina Oliva Tarolli, Babe and Mary’s second child, envisioned the market becoming more than just a grocery store and began bringing in imported products from Italy. This still remains a unique part of the business which she continues to manage today. She also opened the Gourmet Gift Shop in 1999 which features a variety of home accents and specialty gifts. The youngest Oliva child, Carla Tuttle, is the Director of Food Services for the Milford Public Schools. She is also involved with the family business specializing in gourmet catering and she can be found behind the register on weekends, or in the meat room making porkettas and sausage.
The history of Oliva’s Market went from a small ice cream parlor in the early 1900’s to a multi- faceted business which has become a cornerstone in the town of Milford. The Oliva family’s love and gratitude for serving the greater Milford community is evident as they will often be seen chatting with patrons to find out more about them and to thank them for their business.
Despite the many changes to life since 1961, including this most recent pandemic, Oliva’s still stands strong on a foundation of dedication, loyalty, and service.