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Stella Luna to lay off nearly all staff, citing economic downturn

Stella Luna Gelato Cafe's location on Wellington St. W (Jim O'Grady/CTV News Ottawa) Stella Luna Gelato Cafe's location on Wellington St. W (Jim O'Grady/CTV News Ottawa)

Stella Luna Gelato Café has laid off nearly its entire staff going into the holidays, citing difficult economic conditions for the business.

The family-run cafe, which runs two locations in Ottawa and one in Merrickville, said in a post to Facebook that family members will continue to operate the business throughout the winter in hopes that conditions will improve in the spring.

"Our family business, along with countless others across the nation, is struggling. Economic conditions have worsened for families as they make every effort to meet their basic needs, leaving little to no income left for anything but the bare essentials," the Giuliani family said on the café's Facebook page.

"Countless other small and medium sized businesses across Canada face similar uncertainty. It’s up to our communities to support our locally owned, neighbourhood shops, without whom our neighbourhoods, as we know them, will disappear, replaced with big-box chains."

Stella Luna, which opened its first location on Bank Street in 2011 was opened by Tammy Giuliani.

The business became embroiled in controversy in 2022 during the "Freedom Convoy" in Ottawa, after its owner made an anonymous donation to the demonstrators, sparking online hate and even violence towards staff. Giuliani said at the time she regretted the decision.

"There are those in our communities who have already dedicated themselves to online hatred and shaming. There is no shame in working hard. And hatred and shame have no place in a just and civilized society," Stella Luna said in Thursday's Facebook post.

Stella Luna said they are grateful for the community's support and compassion and will be closed between Christmas and New Year's Day. Top Stories

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