October: October: Italian-American Culinary Arts
In honor of Italian-American Heritage Month, ABNY is highlighting YPs who have contributed to the long tradition of Italian and Italian-American culinary arts in New York City.
Congratulations to our October Spotlights of the Month, Louis Coluccio Jr., A.L.C. Italian Grocery, and Anthony Rapacciuolo, PRcision LLC!
Louis Coluccio Jr.
I never stopped trying. The journey to anywhere is paved with all types of mistakes and missteps, and that’s okay. I always pushed forward and kept an open mind. No matter personally or professionally I tried to always have the best intentions and work towards daily improvement. Lots of hard work, sacrifice, and determination have brought me to this point. My faith, community, and family have always carried me forward through the tough times.
I have to point out the importance of mentors, people who come into your life and push you past your goals, who encourage you when your cup is empty. Those who lift you up in the dark moments are really important. And they come in all shapes and sizes, just be open enough to receive their encouragement.
My children Ava, Luigi, Luca, and Maria. They are amazing and always bring joy into the lives of everyone they come across. My community always continues to inspire me. Throughout COVID the spirit of Bay Ridge and Brooklyn kept me going through the dark days. I never wanted to flee the city like most because we really held on to the idea that this is only temporary and NYC will be back better than ever. And we were right.
The food industry is extremely challenging. I benefit from having grown up in the industry and learning from my father and all the amazing people he had working for him. I learned discipline and commitment and what service was all about. I was fortunate enough to meet incredibly generous people who gave me their time and indulged my curiosity. They took me to events and opened my eyes to the industry at large.
With that being said it was a totally different industry then, and today I would encourage anyone to follow your passion in food, talk with anyone in the industry that you can get a hold of. Learn, work, study, understand the pros and cons. It would be best to find a group of people that support or share your vision and work together. We need each other now more than ever.
I was away in college for 9/11—it was my freshman year. Though I felt it hard being away from my friends and family at that moment, COVID showed me that I am a true New Yorker. It was personal for me to see that our neighborhood and communities returned and recovered. I made it a point to open our shop EVERY SINGLE DAY we could throughout the pandemic. Eventually we become so overwhelmed we closed on Mondays. I wanted to prove that NYC is much more than what is on the surface. It’s an energy and lifestyle, it’s a feeling and a passion for living, and it’s not going anywhere. That is when I joined our local Merchants Association and we started to hold events and rally our neighbors.
Family. When I was 22 years old I sat down with my father and told him I was going to quit my first job out of college to start my own company. My parents and family were 100% supportive rather than thinking I was crazy. Now, more than 16 years later, I’m blessed to have the same support from my wife who understands the commitment of running a small business.
I’m most proud that our client portfolio consists of Staten Island based businesses and nonprofit organizations. When we’re helping a client, we have the ancillary effect of helping the Staten Island community at large. People can say what they will about the borough, but experience and unfortunately even tragedy has proven that Staten Islanders are always there for one another and have each other’s backs. I’m of course also most proud of being a father to my one-and-a-half-year-old son, Anthony Frank. There’s no success in business that competes with being a father in my eyes. You can have all the money in the world, but without family, to me, there’s no point.
Understand that the landscape is constantly changing. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. Continue to learn and use new tools, and remember that complacency is the death of growth. Once you think you know something, it’s already too late.
I’m definitely a proud New Yorker, in fact I even lived in the city while studying at NYU, however, what I can say truly made me realize it is having the good fortune of being friends with legendary news anchor Ernie Anastos. Over years of friendship, he’s shared wisdom and stories with me that made me truly understand what New York is, what it represents, and what it’s all about. All New Yorkers, no matter the borough, have the unique blessing of being bound by something bigger than us all.