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.”

Dunmore Native Collaborates on Janis Joplin Book

Dunmore native, Caitlin Allyson, has collaborated with renowned photographer, Elliott Landy, on his new book Photographs of Janis Joplin On the Road & On Stage. Allyson designed the book and was the editorial director for the project.

Janis Joplin, Big Brother and The Holding Company. Anderson Theater, NYC, 1968. Photo By ©Elliott Landy, LandyVision Inc.

The 196 page hardcover book features both Landy’s iconic as well as  many never-before-published images of Janis. The photographs are accompanied by Janis’ candid thoughts taken from conversations and interviews recorded by David Dalton, a founding editor of Rolling Stone magazine, while on tour with Janis in 1970. Landy’s photographs portray both the public and private lives of Janis, offering an intimate behind the scenes glance at her brief yet groundbreaking years of fame. 

According to Allyson, a Kickstarter campaign in support of the book was recently launched and will run until Dec. 21, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The Kickstarter Campaign link is: http://kck.st/3wsg7ez

Kickstarter supporters are offered a variety of unique rewards, which include advanced signed copies of the book, fine art prints, lithos, and more at discounted pricing. 

Caitlin writes: “Elliott & I were scheduled to have an exhibition together at ArtWorks Gallery & Studio in the spring of 2020,  but that was cancelled due to the pandemic. At the start of the pandemic, Elliott asked if I would be interested in designing a book. I said yes without hesitation. 

“It’s such an honor to be on this project. Elliott has always been one of my favorite photographers, and music from the 60’s has always been one of my favorite genres. I find that whole era magical.

“For the book, we looked at every negative and slide that Elliott took of Janis. The text that is paired with many of the photos was selected from extensive recordings of conversations and interviews with Janis made by David Dalton during the last year of her life. Elliott’s goal in pairing Janis’ words with her photos  was to provide a personal insight into her life and career, creating a 

Best known for his classic “rock” photographs, Elliott Landy was one of the first music photographers to be recognized as an “artist”. His celebrated works include portraits of Bob Dylan (Nashville Skyline), The Band (Music From Big Pink and The Band album), Janis Joplin, Van Morrison (Moondance), Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, etc. He was the official photographer of the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Caitlin Allyson is a 2009 graduate from Dunmore High School, and received her Bachelors of Arts in Visual Arts and a double concentration in Photography and Printmaking with a specialization in Art Therapy cum laude from Keystone College..

Allyson’s skills are well-rounded in many forms of media, however her expertise lies in both traditional and digital photography, design, and curating. She has exhibited her work her artwork throughout Northeast Pennsylvania. 

Caitlin has worked as a curator and event planner for galleries in NEPA, as a photography teacher at Arts Alive in Scranton, and as an art teacher for ArtWorks Gallery & Studio. She currently works as a designer for Elliott Landy.

Doin’ Dunmore: Lazar Returning to Roots for Holiday Season 

By Steve Svetovich

Local music product Alyssa Lazar’s earliest gigs as a teenager included a few Dunmore spots.

And with a new release of her album, “Hopeless Romanticism,” Alyssa will be returning to one of her old stops, Crotti’s on Ash, just a few blocks up the street from Dunmore’s Schautz Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 26. She will be performing from 8 to 10 p.m.

Daughter of Mark and Maureen Lazar, Alyssa, 22, is home on a holiday visit. She has spent her past four plus years in Nashville, Tennessee, where she recently received a bachelor of arts degree. in commercial music with an emphasis in writing from the Belmont School of Music in Nashville. 

Alyssa embraces a unique set of genres on her new 7-song EP. She wrote all the songs and music.

The album, released this past Nov. 17, mixes pop and rock sounds with elements from other eras. The EP is available on ITunes and Amazon and can be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. 

Alyssa plays guitar, but piano is her primary musical instrument. Her favorite artists, who she plays when performing, include Elton John, Lady Gaga and Billy Joel.

Her rendition of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” is scintillating. And likely to be heard at Crotti’s on Ash the day after Christmas.

Alyssa describes her music as piano-influenced pop/rock. Her fans often brand her shows as “Elton John meets Lady Gaga.”

Alyssa started performing at the tender age of four. 

By the time she was 15, Alyssa was performing in local venues, bars and restaurants throughout Northeast PA. Crotti’s on Ash, Andy Gavin’s in Green Ridge, and LaCucina in Dunmore were among her regular spots for performances. Others included the V-Spot, Russell’s Restaurant, Duffy’s Coffee House, Sydney’s Lounge and the old McNally’s in Green Ridge. 

Now she performs regular gigs in Nashville, including the 5 Spot where Lady Gaga performed while touring.

Alyssa’s new EP, includes two instrumental interludes.

“Hopeless Romanticism” combines today’s pop rock sound, the intricacy of 1970’s rock, with hints inspired by the music of the romantic era. It is riddled with chorale-like background vocals, piano and live strings performed by Jonathan Yudkin.

Yudkin has performed on albums of artists such as Taylor Swift and Bon Jovi.

Alyssa thoroughly enjoys song writing as much as playing piano and guitar. “This is the sound I was looking for with this EP,” she said. “It incorporates every musical aesthetic that I love the most and feels like the embodiment of who I was meant to be as an artist. I always loved classical and soundtrack music, but this is made to fit the pop/rock genre of today. 

“The EP takes what are true experiences of those close to me or even the imagination of a true experience and romanticizes it.

“Some of the songs are very raw and vulnerable.

“Each song is inspired by a different mood or event that may have happened in the romantic era of the 1800’s and early 1900’s. There is an emphasis on art and romance. There are several instrumental interludes.”

Alyssa said she performs two or three nights a week in Nashville. “Being discovered is so different now,” she said. “It happens, but you need to grow and build a following. It’s not a thing that happens a lot, but it does. 

“I focus on the places and venues where I am able to play my music and grow on my own. I don’t necessarily look for a break, but look to grow and grow as a musical artist and songwriter.”

The talented musical artist said she attended the Nashville Country Music Awards in 2017 and 2018. She even met country music legend Keith Urban. “He was very nice and had a good sense of humor. He even took the time to ask me about my career.”

You can find Alyssa’s new EP on most streaming platforms. She will be performing her songs from the EP along with other originals and classics during her appearance at Crotti’s on Ash the night after Christmas.