Dunmorean of the Month: Suzy Polizzi Moraski

By Steve Svetovich

Polizzi Kelly Insurance, 203 East Drinker St., Dunmore, is a family business and constant in the borough for 70 years now.

And Suzy Polizzi Moraski, current owner and still only 51, has been a part of it for the past 35 years.

“I started working there every day after school when I was 16,” she said. “And I haven’t stopped since. I have no plans in the near future to stop.”

The business began at the Dunmore home of her late grandfather Michael Polizzi in 1952.

In 1956, it shifted to its current location at Dunmore Corners.

In 1968, said Moraski, her grandfather partnered with Paul Kelly. The partnership lasted until 1984 when the Polizzi family bought it outright, she added.

Her grandfather died in 2006 which resulted in her dad, also Michael Polizzi, taking over that year.

When her dad died in 2018, Polizzi Moraski took over a business she had already spent over three decades working in with her late dad and late grandfather.

As the new owner, she knew all the ropes.

The 1988 Dunmore graduate has been married 23 years to Steve Moraski. The couple has a daughter Marissa, 22, a West Chester University graduate with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. She is a substitute teacher at Dunmore High School.

Polizzi Moraski received an associate’s degree in business administration from Penn State Worthington in 1990. She worked in her family’s insurance business all through high school and college. She went right into it full force in 1990. “I worked there every day after school, so it was an easy transition.”

Polizzi Kelly Insurance is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m, to 4 p.m, The business sells homeowners, automobile, property, commercial and small business insurance. The business also deals with tag and title, payroll services and notary services.

Daughter of Grace Polizzi and the late Michael Polizzi, the lifetime Dunmore resident said the business recently had remodeling work completed to make it a more modern office.

“We kept a lot of the old signs though,” she said. “We wanted to keep some of the old history of the building intact.”

Polizzi Moraski’s late dad also taught science for over 30 years at Dunmore Middle School.

Her husband is a supervisor at Canon Business Process Services at Dunmore Industrial Park.

Her cousin is Donna Loughney, wife of former Dunmore Mayor Patrick “Nibs” Loughney.

She talked about the business challenge during the past two years of COVID-19. “There have been a few challenges,” she said. “We don’t see as many customers in the building as in the past. A lot of the business is done over the phone or online. People love to save money, so they shop around. But we try to always accommodate our loyal customers.

“There are a lot of insurance companies in Dunmore, so there is a lot of competition. We don’t have a lot of control over rates, but we do our best to accommodate and provide a better service. We try to keep our same values intact.”

The hard-working Dunmore native said her favorite part of the job is her customers. “We see many of the same customers for many years. We see customers who grew up in this town. We watched them grow up. We know a lot of people in Dunmore. We’ve had generations of customers. Talking to them and helping them is the best part of the job. We love the people and the community.”

All of Polizzi Moraski’s siblings worked in the business too. Her siblings are Michael and Matthew Polizzi and Michelle Rinaldi.

Her brother Michael is affiliated with a mortgage company located on the second floor of the building.

“I want to do this as long as possible,” the long-time business owner said. “I enjoy serving the people in this community.”

Dunmorean of the Month: Rocco Riccardo

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.”

Dunmorean of the Month: Tim McGrath

By Steve Svetovich

Tim McGrath, Dunmore, has been involved in politics and business his entire adult life, so he should have no problem shining in his new venture.

McGrath, 56, is the new Executive Director of COLTS Bus in the Lackawanna County Transit System.

He begins his duties Monday, Nov. 8.

Married 24 years to the former Heather Perrone, the couple resides with their three children on Jefferson Avenue, Dunmore. 

He worked for the past 20 years as General Manager of the Viewmont Mall, Dickson City. 

 “It should be an easy transition for me,” he said. “Retail is very challenging. Staffing is always challenging and especially during a pandemic. You have competition from online shoppers. But we overcame the challenges and strived even during tough times.

“I am very excited to get involved in the Lackawanna County transit system with COLTS at this critical time. Of course, we will have competition from the Ubers of the world, but we want to serve the people of this county in the best possible manner.”

McGrath is on the Board of Directors of both Goodwill Industries of NEPA and the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce.

He has also been on the Board of Directors of the Lackawanna County Convention and Visitors Bureau from 2002 to 2018.

He received a bachelor of science degree in communications from the University of Scranton in 1990. He also attended Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, from 1983 to 1985. McGrath was raised in Florida, graduating from Pompano Beach High School in 1983.

McGrath served as Assistant to the Chairman for President  Clinton’s Summit for America’s Future in 1997; as Events Coordinator for the Steamtown National Historic Site Grand Opening in August 1995; as Events Coordinator for Gov. Robert Casey’s Inaugural Committee in January 1991; as Field Coordinator for Pat Casey for Congress in 1998, and as Statewide Field Coordinator for Robert Casey for Auditor General in 1996 and 1997.

Dunmorean of the month Tim McGrath is shown with his family, including from left: wife Heather, daughter Mary Grace, and son Timothy. In front is son Robert.

The Dunmorean also campaigned for Bob Casey for Governor in 1985-86 and 1989-91, and for U.S. Senator Harris Wofford in 1991-95. 

Additionally, McGrath was Regional Officer for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of NEPA in 1997; Deputy Clerk for the Lackawanna County Recorder of Deeds Office in 1998, working under Evie McNulty, and was Community Development and Events Coordinator for the Springwood Group in 1995-96. McGrath was also director of the Lackawanna Trolley Museum for two years in the late 1990’s.

Most importantly to him, he is a family man who takes great pride in Dunmore and surrounding areas. 

He and his wife are proud parents. The couple’s son Timothy, 22, is a student studying sports management at Lackawanna College. A daughter Mary Grace, 20, is in the general studies program at Saint Joseph’s University and wants to become a forensic psychologist. Another son Robert, 13, is a student at Saint Paul’s Elementary School in Green Ridge. 

“Given the climate of retail,” he said, “I think we had great success during my 20 years at the Viewmont Mall in Dickson City. It was a great experience and a very fulfilling 20 years. It was very challenging at times. I am proud of the success we had as the premier shopping center in the region.

“I want to transfer that feeling of success and fulfillment to my new position at COLTS. There will be some similarities. I will be able to draw from my previous experience. I am very excited about this new opportunity to serve the public. I am very much looking forward to this new opportunity.”