It started in America
in 1907, when the five brothers came to New York City. After working
in Greek restaurants for two years, they decided to open a retail
store specializing in food imports - the store was a success!
A few years later, the brothers came to Pittsburgh to join their brother-in-law
who had a similar store on Market Street. Together they opened the
store and warehouse at the present Penn Avenue location.
The family consisted of nineteen children living in the village
of Kallimasia, Chios an island in the eastern Aegean Sea close to
the Turkish coast. Their father, a food merchant by trade, dealt
primarily with the sale of mastic gum, a natural and rare tree resin
which comes from a bushy tree that only grows on the southern side
of Chios. Mastic was used as the first natural chewing gum as well
as in pharmaceuticals and culinary specialties. Other foods he sold
in Greece were olives, olive oil, cheeses, lemons, honey, almonds
and local produce.
Visit the present day store and the experience might remind you
of the days when the five brothers ran it. The exposed brick, antique
wide-plank wood floor scarred from the thousands of customers shoes,
the smell of spices, cheeses and meats that permeate the air all
bring you back to where it started.
Even though it's been over 100 years since the brothers landed in
America, the Stamoolis family’s devotion and passion to ensure
the same quality of products and personal service is continued by
Gus Stamoolis, son of Orestus, along with his family and a number
of dedicated employees.