Cosimo Riccioli & Sons in Norristown reaches 100 years in business

NORRISTOWN — In 1920, Cosimo Riccioli emigrated from Catania, Sicily to Norristown with the goal of creating a better life for his family. Using masonry skills he learned from his father, he established a business in 1922 — Cosimo Riccioli & Sons — with his three sons working by his side.

Celebrating a landmark centennial anniversary this year, the family-owned Cosimo Riccioli & Sons has provided the Philadelphia suburbs with specialized concrete. Based in Norristown, the company provides concrete, excavation, and waterproofing services for residential, commercial and industrial projects.

For a century, the Ricciolis have passed on the trade of the trowel from father to son, and the business is now operating in its fourth generation of the family.

“When my grandfather came to this country, he worked seven days a week as a builder in Norristown to establish the Riccioli name and business. His dedication to the business is why we are still around since 1922,” said Cosimo Riccioli, who began operating the company with his brother Louis Riccioli, in 1997.

“It makes me very proud to be here to see the 100 year anniversary of this family business. I will be a part of it until I’m no longer here. My nephew Anthony is managing the business now and is doing an outstanding job bringing the business to the next level in general contracting. It takes hard work, dedication and trust to maintain a family business for 100 years,” he added.

Anthony Riccioli, left, and his uncle Cosimo Riccioli, at the Norristown location of Cosimo Riccioli & Sons, which specializes in concrete. The company was founded in 1922, and is a fourth generation family business. (DONNA ROVINS – MEDIANEWS GROUP PHOTO)

A lasting legacy

Riccioli noted how great it is to still see the family trademark stamp on sidewalks around town that were made decades ago, as well as seeing homes his family built still standing. The most memorable projects to him are the ones he worked on “together with my father, brother, my two sons and my nephews.”

RICCIOLI 100The stamp of Norristown’s Cosimo Riccioli & Sons in a project completed in Norristown. (DONNA ROVINS – MEDIANEWS GROUP PHOTO)

“We typically work within a 10 to 15 mile radius but within the past year we have worked in Allentown, York, Long Beach Island, parts of Delaware, south Jersey and all different parts of Philadelphia. I feel very fortunate to be able to carry on a 100 year old family business. This opportunity would have never arisen without the hard work and dedication of my family in the business before me,” said Anthony Riccioli, who currently operates the business.

RICCIOLI 100One of the original signs for Cosimo Riccioli & Sons of Norristown, which is marking its 100th anniversary. (DONNA ROVINS – MEDIANEWS GROUP PHOTO)

In the 1930s, the business transformed stone working materials such as limestone, slate and granite into works of art, building many homes in the Colleston section of Norristown. Other notable projects included helping to build Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Black Horse and the Holy Savior Church on Main Street. In the late 1940s, the family built bungalows and rancher houses on Powell and Willow Streets.

A timeline of commitment

When founder Cosimo Riccioli passed away in 1960, his youngest son, Anthony, continued to carry on the family business while his brothers pursued their own ventures in masonry. Anthony Riccioli began a new era and expanded the business into concrete waterproofing and backhoe excavating. Following tradition, his sons Cosimo and Louis joined him in the family business. The company contracted work with the borough of Norristown, replacing curb and sidewalks.

In 1997, Anthony Riccioli passed away, and Cosimo and Louis carried on the long-running family business. Much of the work at that time was done in Skippack. Cosimo Riccioli operated a backhoe and dump truck, and played a large role in the excavation of many businesses along Skippack Village. Louis Riccioli continued with concrete work in the Norristown area, including projects in the school district, picking up where is father had left off.

By the late 2000s, Cosimo Riccioli’s two sons, Michael and James, along with Louis Riccioli’s son Anthony joined the company as the fourth generation of Ricciolis. As the business continued to evolve, they took on larger jobs including commercial work. When Louis Riccioli passed away in 2015, Anthony continued his legacy of the company.

Cosimo Riccioli — who turned 72 on Dec. 23 — can still be found running the backhoe from time to time, and his sister Maryanne, helps behind the scenes managing the office.

RICCIOLI 100Cosimo Riccioli, grandson of the founder of Norristown concrete contractor Cosimo Riccioli & Sons, with his grandson Jett Riccioli, 3, at the company’s Norristown location. (DONNA ROVINS – MEDIANEWS GROUP PHOTO)

“Our family’s dedication to keeping a good reputation by treating people fairly and delivering quality work has been our key focus. I remember being a little boy seeing my dad, uncle and grandfather all working together on a job and feeling so proud. That same feeling carried on when I worked side by side with my dad, uncle, aunt, and cousins,” Anthony Riccioli said.

“I love taking my sons and nephews to go look at jobs we are on and seeing that same smile on their faces that I had when I was their age. I wish my father could be here to celebrate this milestone. He was such a huge part of keeping this business alive,” he added. Riccioli also noted how thankful he is for his employees and contractors he works with every day who help carrying on the tradition of fairness and quality for their customers.

“The entire Riccioli family is very proud of their heritage and will always remember their roots and hard work they put into this town,” Michael Riccioli said.

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