Pushing product through the streets of Philadelphia, Guiseppe was a young fish monger with a dream. Moving from Sicily, Italy, Guiseppe envisioned owning and growing his seafood business to provide for his family in America. Working day and night, he devoted his life to catering to his customer’s seafood needs. Slowly but surely his business grew and so did his family. Guiseppe, his wife Concetta, and their four children all worked hard together to establish Ippolito’s, Philadelphia’s corner seafood retailer. Guiseppe was a hardworking man and he was my grandfather.
At the age of 13, my mother Rose, my grandfather’s eldest child, managed the store on 13th and Dickinson. She soon became immersed in the seafood business, buying and selling with her father. She eventually ran the whole business. As business was booming, our growth increased and so did our family. Everybody in our family worked in the business; my uncles, aunts, cousins, and myself. No one was exempt, and we soon found seafood to be our entire family’s way of life. We worked, ate, and loved seafood.
As I was a young boy in the 60’s, seafood was more than a part time job, it was a passion. Unlike most kids, I didn’t play with toys, I played with the fish. When my mom was at work, I would try to guess what fish were on display. With all the different colors and shapes, “Fisher Price” had nothing on Ippolito’s! I loved being in the store, and my grandfather knew it. He developed a relationship with me as he did his seafood, with love and patience. After losing his only son, I would become the heir of Ippolito’s.
School didn’t interest me; only the fish business did. With fish consumption growing in the U.S., I knew I was in the right place to be, so I followed my dream. We began to see many different species into our little corner store in South Philadelphia. As our selection grew, so did our customer base. We soon had local chefs coming to us for their seafood needs.
In 1974, Guiseppe retired and moved back home to Sicily. I then graduated from Central High School and started the manage Ippolito’s with my mother. By 1989, business had grown so much that we had to find a new location. We decided to start a separate company ‘Samuel’s and Son Seafood’. This new company would concentrate on the wholesale business and Ippolito’s would continue its success in the retail trade.
There were some struggles along the way, but we always made it out strong. My wife Donna was always by my side, sacrificing a lot to make it work. Raising a family of four children, we are still ever growing our family business in the seafood industry.
– Sam D’Angelo, Owner