201 First Street
Star Store (Bakery)
1922: Joseph Primavera buys the Boston Bakery.
Circa 1920. First Street looking west (Courtesy Douglas McLeod).
Joseph Primavera, his wife Martina and their son Victor moved to Langley on September 13, 1917 and settled in the two-story house at the corner of Second Street and Anthes Avenue. Joseph purchased the home In 1919, and set up a shoe and harness repair business there.
In 1922, Joseph purchased a small building from Joseph Coleman on First Street that housed the "Boston Bakery." Photographs suggest that the building was constructed prior to 1913, but the exact date is unclear.
He named his business the "Star Shoe Store" after a brand of shoes manufactured by the Star International Shoe Company. The sign across the front of the building read "Auto Trimmings - Harness - Joe Primavera - Star Shoe Store".
Circa 1922. The Primavera family in front of the initial Star Store (Courtesy Anna Primavera).
1923. Martina Primavera stands in front of the Star Store (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).
He repaired the building and constructed a lean-to on the back to serve as living quarters for the family. He soon began adding groceries and clothing to his store and "built a three bedroom home in back of the store to replace the lean-to" (Cherry, Vol. III).
1929: Addition to the Star Store.
In 1926, Joe bought the lot immediately east of his original store, and constructed a new, two story, building with a brick façade there in 1929. A building to the east (left) served as a storage area. The truck in front of the original store was used by Victor to haul groceries from Everett once a week.
1933: Original Star Store receives a new look.
Circa 1933. Star Store after remodel of original store (right)(Courtesy Anna Primavera).
The original Star Store building was extensively remodeled, and a second two-story building with brick façade erected in its place. Both buildings had entrances on First Street. Rooms on the second floor housed a hotel and a dentist’s office.
Circa 1933. Star Store after remodel of original store. Joseph Primavera standing in the new entrance to the Star Store (Courtesy Anna Primavera).
Circa 1933. Dentist Office sign in window above the sign for the New Hotel featuring “Hot & cold water in every room. Hot water heated.” Door to the stairs leading to the upstairs (right).
Victor Primavera and Anna Peters were married in 1938. The newly weds lived in an apartment upstairs overlooking First Street. Two of their daughters were born there. Victor bought the Star Store from his father who died the following Christmas at the age of 80. Martina died in 1940.
According to Anna Primavera, “There was a hotel with about 8 rooms above the Star Store. We’d charge $2.00 a night. I took care of the hotel after Victor and I got married. We rented a room in front to a dentist who came to the Island once a week from Everett. We’d make money when the Puget Power workers would come over from the mainland.
“Victor and I lived up there in a room facing First Street. Our first two daughters ‘were born up there. We moved into the living room. We had furniture from the hotel. When I got it all neat and clean, I went downstairs to see if I could help in the store. My husband handed me a broom and said ‘here, I’ll let you sweep the floor.’ And that was the beginning of my working in the store.”
“Victor had heard that women didn’t have enough cupboards, so he had a carpenter friend come in and make a really nice kitchen. It had cupboards all around and space for a refrigerator – which I didn’t get for a couple years. But so what.”
Victor’s mother, Martina, died in 1940.
Ca. 1940. Owners Anna and Victor Primavera in doorway of Star Store. (Courtesy Anna Primavera).
The store initially carried all sorts of merchandise. Groceries were added later. According to Anna Primavera, “Victor had the hotel rooms torn up around 1943 and he put shoes and clothing up there.”
1971. Upstairs at the Star Store (Courtesy Anna Primavera).
Circa 1950s. Inside the Star Store (Courtesy Anna Primavera).
The warehouse was replaced with an addition to the store in 1965.
Circa 1971. New addition (left) (Courtesy Anna Primavera).
In 1970, Victor purchased the two-story building just west of the Star Store from Etta C. DeBruyn and had it demolished. Victor's son Joe and two friends rented the town's dump truck and hauled material out to the dump. The lot remained vacant for several years.
In 1977, the Primaveras sold the store to Dale Elliott and Roberta ran it until 1984 when they sold it to Gene and Tamar Felton.
1988: Star Bistro
The “Star Bistro” restaurant opened in 1988 above the 1929 portion of the Star Store. It was accessed by a stairway from the parking lot on the South side and through the door on First Street that originally lead to the Hotel.
1988. Opening of the Star Bistro. (back row: Gene and Tamar Felton with daughter Gina. Front row: Gene’s sister Carol Felton in front of Gene, Joe Leger on the right with his wife and Gene’s Sister, Maggie Leger).
Circa 1988. Star Store with “Café” sign on awning over the door to the Star Bistro. (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).
Another addition to the Star Store designed by Michael Boyd was constructed on the vacant lot in 1994.
2007. Latest addition to Star Store (Courtesy Robert Waterman).
The Star Bistro closed in February, 2005 after 17 years of operation.
2005. Door to stairs leading to the Star Bistro (Courtesy Robert Waterman).
2006: Prima Bistro
Sieb and Jenn Jurriaans opened “Prima Bistro” in the space on June 28, 2006. According to Jenn, “The name “Prima” was chosen as an homage to the Primavera family and also because we are on First Street (prima in French) and in Dutch it means fine, etc.”
2008. Prima Bistro’s outdoor seating above the produce section of the Star Store (Courtesy Robert Waterman).
2019. Door to Prima Bistro (Courtesy Robert Waterman).