The building that for nearly 50 years housed a celebrated Italian market at East Broadway and Madison Avenue vanished in a cloud of history Wednesday.
“Fine Italian Foods, Everything For the Gourmet,” was a slogan of the Broadway Market, which opened its doors in 1957 and closed them in late 2004, when Alfredo Cipolato was 93 and his wife Ann was 90.
“We’re not closing because business is bad. I’m just too tired to do anything any more,” said Alfredo, who came to Missoula by force as an Italian internee at Fort Missoula before America’s entrance into World War II.
In 2009, Home Resource deconstructed the deteriorating thee-story apartment building next to the market.
The market and home were sold by the Cipolato family in February and in the last few weeks showed signs of vandalism.
“It’s been a bum habitat,” said Josh Patterson of Patterson Enterprises, who contracted with Dick Anderson of Great Falls to demolish the 95-year-old building.
The jaws of a large excavator exposed “old nasty sleeping bags and Mad Dog 2020 bottles,” Patterson said. “It’s just kind of been a hangout for transients. The (Motel 6) people behind there are pretty happy to see it go.”
It’ll be replaced by a free-standing retail store, said Travis Neil, a project manager for Dick Anderson, adding he'll have more information in a few days.
On Tuesday, Patterson’s crew began clearing trees and brush that flanked the buildings at 602 E. Broadway. A chipping operation didn't work out, so the wood material is being sawed down to size and hauled to EKO Compost, Patterson said.
Demolition of the buildings began Wednesday morning and was completed by 5 p.m.
Patterson said over the next couple of weeks his crews will haul the building debris to the landfill, clean up the .8-acre site, and add four feet of fill.
“It’ll be fairly street level,” he said. “It’ll definitely be an improvement to this part of town.”
Alfredo Cipolato passed away in 2008.
He and Ann met while singing in the choir at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and were married on his birthday, Oct. 5, 1943. Alfredo had just gone to work for Ann’s parents, Giovanni and Rosina D’Orazi, at the D’Orazi Grocery on a corner of Woody and Alder streets.
They bought the Broadway Market from Ann’s uncle, Joe Bugli. It evolved over the years into a specialty shop for fine Italian foods and a center of Italian culture for people from all across Montana, according to Ann’s obituary. The market started specializing in imported wines in the early 1970s.
In later years, the Cipolatos opened up their shop three days a week. Alfredo, a charter member of the Missoula Mendelssohn Club that marks its 70th season this year, often made the market reverberate with his singing.
“Ann’s cooking was the source of the amazing smells that permeated the store around dinnertime each day,” her obit said.