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Scranton pizza place staying in the family

Maroni's Pizza, in West Scranton, looked like it could be sold off until a new generation of the family came forward to take the reigns.

SCRANTON, Pa. — For 40 years, Maroni's Pizza has been connecting with the people of Scranton, selling trays of pizza from the shop on St. Ann Street.

"That's our success; we treated the customer like family," said Tony Ccoccimiglio, long-time co-owner.

It's been a family affair from the start; Ccoccimiglio and his two brothers bought Maroni's in the early 1980s.

Tony's niece, Rosa Pellegrino, watched as her father and uncles worked hard to grow the business.

"We've been here since we were little kids, so before we could even see over the counter," Pellegrino said.

But a series of events put the restaurant's future in question. 

Pellegrino's father, Carmen Pellegrino, died in 2019, shortly before the pandemic forced the restaurant to adjust.

"It's slowed down a little bit, but as we've been going, people see that we're taking precautions, and we're following all the precautions that are out there," Pellegrino said.

Pellegrino's uncles stayed on to help run the business, but as they neared retirement, the family was on the brink of selling. That is until Rosa stepped in.

"As it got closer and closer and the realization that someone else was going to take it over and maybe change some things up and the traditions would be lost, I think it came even closer to the heart," she said. "It's really important that we keep the legacy alive for them."

"We were wishing that somebody from the family would take over because Maroni's will stay another 40 years in our family," Ccoccimiglio added.

Rosa is now a second-generation owner, a transition that's becoming rarer.

According to data from the Conway Center for Family Business, just 30% of small businesses are passed from the first to second generation, and only 13% are passed on to a third. 

Rosa's uncles are overjoyed knowing their treasured business is in good hands, but they won't be far away.

"The only thing I'll tell Rosa is, good luck," Ccoccimiglio said. "I'm here when you need me. I'll come and help you anytime you want."

Pellegrino wants to stick to her family's formula for success, connecting with the community every day.

"They've always been supportive, and I can tell that that's going to continue, so that makes me very happy," Pellegrino said.

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