By Allie Coulter
FRONTENAC – In 2012, Pallucca and Son’s Super Market will celebrate its 100 year anniversary. In 1912, Attilio Pallucca, an immigrated from San Pellegrino, Rome, opened the Italian shop in Southeast Kansas.
The meat market and grocery store is located off highway 69 in Frontenac, a town of around 3,000 residents. Within a 4 mile radius of Pallucca’s stands a Wal-Mart superstore, Dillions and a Walgreens. These are all large corporate stores that have forced many small, locally owned stores out of business. But not Pallucca’s.
Pallucca’s success over the years could be “hard work and customer loyalty,” said Pallucca, 72, although, he admits “a lot of times I wanted to say the hell with it.”
The store originally opened by Pallucca’s grandfather and partner Enrico Moriconi. Later the family bought Moriconi’s share. It has been passed down three generations in the Pallucca family: grandfather Attilio, Joe, and now Richard.
Frontenac is filled with Italian heritage. Pallucca’s offers a large selection of Italian foods. They are known for Italian sausage. Pallucca learned to make sausage from his father. The recipe was derived from Richard and his uncle Mannoni. They experimented until they came up with something that was exactly what they wanted.
In 2009, Pallucca decided it was time to scale back because business was slowing down and he was reaching his 70s. “I have been working 80-90 hour work weeks since as long as I can remember and had been a butcher for around 50 years,” he said.
He is tired.
The grocery part of Pallucca’s down-sized. Currently, the store focuses on the meat department and catering. They also have small area with five tables for daily lunches. For the lunch crowd, they serve anything from paninis to rigatonis.
The majority of Pallucca’s meats come from a wholesale. Angus beef the only beef that is used in their store.
Will Pallucca’s survive another generation?
He has two sons, Bill and Joe, and a daughter, Becky. Both of his sons work in Kansas City while Becky is a police officer in nearby Pittsburg. “If anyone takes over the store it would likely be Becky,” he said. She helps close the store some nights when she is not on duty.
Keeping Pallucca’s in the family is something that is important to him. If someone in the family is not able to take over the store he said, “I’d lock her up and go home or die in here.”