By Steve Svetovich
Riccardo’s Market has been a part of Dunmore for the past 100 years.
And current owner and operator Rocco Riccardo, Dunmore, has been a major part of it for 45 of those 100 years.
There have been only three locations in 100 years.
The business has been owned by four generations of Riccardos.
Originally owned by his great-grandfather Salvatore Riccardo, the family-owned business originated in the early 1920’s.
“Our family was produce people back then,” said Rocco, 59. “Those were the horse and buggy days. We were hucksters.”
Riccardo’s original location was where DePietro’s Pharmacy is today at 617 Third St Dunmore.
In 1993, Rocco took over the family business and bought the old Giant Market building on Blakely Street near the Dunmore police station and borough building. Riccardo’s Market occupied that location from 1993 until 2009.
In 2009, Riccardo’s moved to its current location at 1219 Wheeler Ave., Dunmore.
Son of Betty and Salvatore Riccardo, Rocco has been working in the family business full-time since he was 14. “I used to go there right after school and on weekends. I worked 40 hours a week while I was in high school.”
Rocco’s grandfather, also Rocco, took over the family business in the 1930’s. Eventually Rocco’s dad Salvatore took over Riccardo’s Market. Rocco has been running the family business since 1993.
Rocco is married to the former Nancy Jennings. The couple has five children: Anna, 40, Sal, 38, Lexxus, 24, Elizabeth, 21, and Michael, 15.
The couple has two grandchildren:,Anna Lea, 6, and Aribella, 3.
Riccardo’s Market is open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m, to 8 p.m.
Rocco said his market has functioned extremely well throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Like everybody else,” he said, “we followed all protocols. We socially distanced and followed the mask mandate. We put up the plexiglass screens at the checkout lines.
“Most of our employees were vaccinated. We have a great relationship with Tommy DePietro of DePietro’s Pharmacy across the street. He took care of all of our people with the vaccinations for COVID.
“The Riccardo and DePietro families go back over 100 years. The two families used to be neighbors in the Bunker Hill section of Dunmore.”
Rocco, always a hard worker and people person, said his busy months are usually September to May. “Right now In December we are really busy. People are out shopping for their holiday food.”
At 59, Rocco is showing no signs of slowing down, generally working seven days a week. “I’ve been doing this full time, seven days a week for 45 years now. That’s a long time. I worked for my grandfather and then my dad. I plan on doing this a few more years. I still feel young.
“There is an open invitation for my son to take over someday. He is in commercial refrigeration. He owns SR Mechanical. I can always go work for him when I eventually retire.”
Rocco is a 1981 graduate of Bishop O’Hara High School. He also has a pilot’s license and studied welding at Johnson School of Technology.
“I used to own a plane, but got rid of it a few years ago.”
Rocco, still full of energy, enjoys serving the public.
“I love what I do. I wake up everyday and can’t wait to get to work. I want to keep going. They change the rules all the time and you need to keep up with the times.
“If my son or other kids ever want to take over, they are welcome to it.
“But right now it is business-as-usual for me, I’m doing it for a very long time and enjoy it. I enjoy the work and the people.”