Cosimo Riccioli & Sons in Norristown reaches 100 years in business

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

To celebrate a centennial this year, family-owned Cosimo Riccioli & Sons has provided the Philadelphia suburbs with specialty 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 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’ve been around since 1922,” said Cosimo Riccioli, who started 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 am no longer here. My nephew Anthony is managing the business now and is doing an outstanding job of bringing the business to the next level of general contracting. It takes hard work, dedication and trust to maintain a family business for 100 years,” he added.

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Anthony Riccioli, left, with his uncle Cosimo Riccioli, of 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 – PHOTO GROUP MEDIANEWS)

A lasting legacy

Riccioli noted how nice it is to still see the family’s stamps on sidewalks around town from decades ago, as well as to see the house his family built still standing. The most memorable projects for him are the ones he worked on “with my father, my brother, my two sons and my nephews”.

Cosimo Riccioli & Sons Norristown stamp on a project completed in Norristown. (DONNA ROVINS – PHOTO GROUP MEDIANEWS)

“Usually we work within a 10 to 15 mile radius but in 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 never have arisen without the hard work and dedication of my family in my previous business,” said Anthony Riccioli, who now operates the business.

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

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 include helping to build Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the Black Horse and Holy Savior Church on Main Street. In the late 1940s, the family built bungalows and ranch houses on Powell and Willow Streets.

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A timeline of engagement

When founder Cosimo Riccioli died in 1960, his youngest son, Anthony, continued the family business while his brothers pursued their own masonry ventures. Anthony Riccioli started a new era and expanded the business into concrete waterproofing and shovel digging. Following tradition, his sons Cosimo and Louis joined him in the family business. The company contracted work with the municipality of Norristown, to replace the sidewalks and curbs.

In 1997, Anthony Riccioli died, and Cosimo and Louis carried on the long-standing family business. Much of the work at this time was done in Skippack. Cosimo Riccioli operated a backhoe and dump truck, and was instrumental in digging up many businesses in the town of Skippack. Louis Riccioli continued with concrete work in the Norristown area, including projects in the school district, picking up where his father left off.

In the late 2000s, Cosimo Riccioli’s two sons, Michael and James, as well as 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 in the company.

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Cosimo Riccioli – who turned 72 on December 23 – can still be found running the shovel from time to time, with his sister Maryanne, helping behind the scenes to manage the office.

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

“Our family’s dedication to maintaining a good reputation by treating people fairly and providing quality work has been our primary focus. I remember when I was a boy, I saw my father, uncle and grandfather working together in a job and I felt so proud. That same feeling continued when I worked side by side with my father, uncles, aunts, and cousins,” Anthony Riccioli said.

“I love taking my sons and nephews to see our work and see the same smile on their faces that I had when I was their age. I wish my dad was there to celebrate this milestone. It was a big part of keeping this business alive, “he added. Riccioli also noted how grateful he is to his employees and contractors he works with every day who help carry on the tradition of justice and quality for customers .

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


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