Joseph Vangioni (who came from Italy) and his son Louis (who was born in Akaroa of a English mother) were prominent merchants in 19th and early 20th century Akaroa. Joseph opened a new “grocery establishment” in the town in 1878. Three years later he extended the building, which then looked much as it still does today. Joseph also stocked drapery goods and ironmongery. The premises were used by father and son for their cocksfoot seed business. (Cocksfoot was a grass which thrived on the Peninsula; its seed was in demand for establishing pastures in the North Island and was a major Peninsula export for many years.)
From 1904 until 1917 a famous Akaroa character, Pompey, a pet penguin, lived in a barrel in the Vangioni’s yard.
The store is a robust building with minimal decoration but of handsome proportions and with an attractive street verandah typical of New Zealand shops. The building remains in use as commercial premises.