by Stella Shepard
Frank Buffa was introduced to the joys of cooking at a young age growing up in an Italian family in Ontario.
The family would gather in large numbers and celebrate by cooking traditional Italian dishes. Frank mastered culinary skills passed down by his family. “My dad was a baker in Sicily, Italy,” says Frank. “He also worked as a baker in Ontario and would take me to work with him. I was proud to learn the baking trade from my dad.”
His childhood experience working with his dad led Frank to work in a bakery in his early twenties. Later in life, Frank owned and operated an Italian restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario. However, the restaurant business was a huge success that came with a personal price.
“I became tired of working so hard, the long hours being away from home and family, and missing out on my children’s lives.”
Six years ago, Frank and his wife Marta decided to leave the hustle and bustle of city living. Frank sold the restaurant business and the family packed up their belongings and moved to PEI with their two children Sofia and Nino.
“We had never been to PEI,” says Frank. “We wanted to stay in Canada. So, we looked at the map. We wanted to move somewhere unique, and we saw PEI was Canada’s smallest province.”
The family moved from a city of 767,000 to rural living in Belfast in the middle of winter, with no regrets. “Life has been good for us on the Island,” says Frank. “We love PEI and we enjoy the slower pace of country living. The community of Belfast is amazing, the way it has adopted us.”
Frank did not want to go back to the demands of owning and operating a restaurant. Instead, he purchased a food truck and named the business Furious Franks.
Furious Franks is located at the Lord Selkirk Golf Course, a five-minute drive from his Belfast home. It operates May to September four to five days a week. Frank cooks, and Marta, Sofia and Nino take orders and serve customers.
“The food truck serves hand-cut fries, house-made burgers, PEI bar clams, Italian specials, and more,” says Frank “We use locally sourced meats and seafood.”
Frank learned from a friend about the business services offered at Community Business Development Corporation East (CBDC) located at the Rural Action Centre on Main Street in Montague.
CBDC East assists in creating small businesses and in expanding and modernizing existing businesses by providing financial and technical services to entrepreneurs. Services target entrepreneurs who require customized financing not ordinarily available from traditional sources.
Frank met with Martina MacDonald, Executive Director of CBDC East, and Helen Antle, Business Development Officer. “It was an amazing experience,” says Frank. “They were very supportive of my business idea.
“Furious Franks has been a success from the start. I would not have been able to start the business without financial assistance and support from CBDC East. A lending institution would not have risked financing a food truck.
“Martina recommends our business to the community and she continues to offer on-going support. I took a couple of business-related courses CBDC East offered that were very helpful.”
For more information about Furious Franks, visit their Facebook page or on Instagram.
For more information about Community Business Development Corporation East (CBDC) visit www.cbdc.ca or call 902-838-4030.