It might be easy to underestimate Joseph DeCicco Jr. as merely the lucky heir to the 10-store (soon to be 11) DeCicco Family Markets throne, but that would be a mistake.
“We’re up to three stores on our own with a fourth one coming,” says DeCicco, 28, whose father, Joe Sr., and his two brothers, John Sr., and Frank, all Italian born, own the remaining seven stores. DeCicco, with the help of his cousins John Jr. and Chris, built the Ardsley; Brewster, New York; Harrison; and Armonk locations. Together, they independently own and manage the stores, which, combined, generate $50 million in annual revenue and employ roughly 300 people. (The Armonk store is expected to open in late May.)
Those numbers are daunting, but, to DeCicco, it’s nothing new. “I grew up in these stores,” he says. “It doesn’t feel like work; it feels like part of me, part of my makeup.”
“Joe’s 28 and he has 28 years of experience,” says lifelong friend and DeCicco Family Markets IT Director Paul Heskestad, who says DeCicco’s upbringing in and around the business is the ultimate job qualification. But DeCicco has all the traditional qualifications, too. He’s a trained master butcher, and he has a certification in international bread baking from the French Culinary Institute (now The International Culinary Center), as well as a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Fordham University. And, perhaps equally important, a knowledge of and passion for food and beer.
Take DeCicco’s 10-year love affair with craft beer. In the Brewster location (and soon, Armonk), shoppers can visit an in-store bar before they make rounds with the shopping cart, a feature you will not find in his father’s stores. And at beer-themed events like “Really Special Beer Night v2.0,” shoppers can sample a slew of limited-production, seasonal, and/or one-off varieties.
It’s DeCicco’s spin on what’s made DeCicco Family Markets successful since 1973: Bring to the suburbs high-quality food and beverages normally found only in the City—or the other side of the Atlantic. (Joe Sr.’s cheese program set the model here.) The goal, says DeCicco, is to offer what you would find “at a well-versed beer bar in Manhattan.” He’s even launched partnerships with Sierra Nevada, Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, and Sixpoint Brewery to brew custom DeCicco flavors. This year, keep an eye out for Beer DeCicco, in a Sicilian lemon flavor, brewed by Captain Lawrence.