Andrew Balducci, co-owner of the original Balducci’s food store in New York City’s Greenwich Village, died late last month in Roslyn, New York, of Leukemia. He was 92.
Mr. Balducci was born in Brooklyn, New York, but was raised in Italy after his family moved back when he was two years old. He returned with his family to New York in 1939. After serving in the Navy during World War II and taking part in the invasion of Normandy, he and his father, Louis, opened a fresh produce business on Greenwich Avenue.
According to the company, “What started as a produce stand run by ‘Pop’ Balducci has now become a gourmet powerhouse, with six stores located in Maryland, Virginia, New York and Connecticut. We have retained that passion for food that was the original inspiration for the market and have used it to scour the world to bring customers the very best in new flavors. We also have a team of chefs on staff to create meals worthy of the finest dining establishments in New York.”
Mr. Balducci left the family business in 1960 to work in masonry but returned to work with his father in 1968. Andrew wanted to launch a European-style food emporium to feature “the best of the best” in every food category. He continued to sell high quality produce and began importing many Italian specialties. The business expanded and relocated from Greenwich Avenue to Sixth Avenue and 9th Street in Greenwich Village.
After selling the business in 1999, Mr. Balducci and his wife, Nina, retired, and in 2003, the company was purchased by an investment firm.
Mr. Balducci and his brother-in-law, Joe Doria, also launched a wholesale division of the company “Baldor” which delivers bulk produce and is a large distributor of fresh produce and specialty foods in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.
Today, Balducci’s is known as Balducci’s Food Lovers Market. The business is a subsidiary of investment firm KB Holding Inc. which acquired Balducci’s and Kings Food Market in 2016.