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Memorial Service For Save Mart’s Piccinini Is April 11

Bob Piccinini (Shelby Report file photo, 2012)

Last updated on March 31st, 2015 at 02:30 pm

A memorial service for Mr. Robert “Bob” Piccinini, owner of the Save Mart chain of stores in Northern California, will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 11, at CrossPoint Community Church, 1301 12th Street, Modesto. Mr. Piccinini died March 24 at his home in Modesto. He was 73.

The Modesto Bee reported that Mr. Piccinini’s health had been in decline for the past couple of years and that congestive heart failure was the likely cause of death.

The Bee quoted the company’s official statement from March 24: “The Piccinini family announced with sadness today the passing of Robert ‘Bob’ Piccinini, the Chairman of Save Mart Supermarkets. In life, Bob was most passionate about two things—his family and his company.”

BobPiccininiMr. Piccinini purchased Save Mart in 1985 and still served as chairman of the company at the time of his death. He had stepped down as CEO in September 2014, leaving the chain’s daily operations to Co-President/COO Steve Junqueiro; Co-President/CFO Greg Hill; and Co-President/Chief Strategy & Branding Officer Nicole Piccinini Pesco, his daughter.

Bob’s father, Mike Piccinini, and uncle, Nick Tocco, had opened the first Save Mart in 1952, when Bob was 10 years old. The younger Piccinini did attend college for a while, but, as he told The Shelby Report in 2012 in a special report on the chain’s 60th anniversary, “I discovered that (college) probably wasn’t my forte and that I needed to go out and get a job and be productive. The line of least resistance was working for Dad.”

He started out as a courtesy clerk and eventually became a head clerk, then an assistant manager and a store manager before moving into the real estate aspect of the business.

When his father passed away in 1971, Mr. Piccinini was 28 years old and it was decided that he should become VP and represent the family in the executive hierarchy. In that capacity, he continued to manage all the real estate activity, working with Bill Johnson, who was running the company at the time, and CFO Bob Olson.

“The three of us ran the company although, at the time, it was more Bill and Bob than it was me,” Mr. Piccinini said.

In 1977 the company celebrated its 25th anniversary with 24 stores. In 1981, Mr. Piccinini was named president of Save Mart and, in 1985, he purchased the company and became its CEO.

“I think we’ve been very successful because Bob embraces change and has taught all of us to do so as well,” said Junqueiro in 2012. “He enjoys the business, craves the challenge and loves to win. I think he’ll be involved for a long time to come.”

His daughter, who had worked for the family business during high school and interned there during college, earned a degree in fashion design in Italy and spent time in New York City before returning to the family business about six years ago.robert-piccinini_

Today, Save Mart Supermarkets owns and operates 217 stores in Northern California and Northern Nevada under the Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky, Maxx Value Foods and FoodMaxx banners.

Mr. Piccinini was ranked 243rd in the 2013 Forbes list of wealthiest Americans with a net worth estimated at $2.3 billion, the paper said. He was a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors and owned several minor-league baseball teams over the years, including the Fresno Giants minor league baseball team from 1982 to 1987. He also approved the company’s decision to buy naming rights to the Save Mart Center in Fresno. His company’s name has been on NASCAR’s Sonoma race—the Toyota/Save Mart 350—for many years.

Asked in 2012 how he would like to be remembered, Mr. Piccinini said, “Oh, gosh, that’s hard. I’d like to be remembered as a good father; I’d like to be remembered as an honest, high integrity businessman. And, hopefully, as a successful one. Jury’s not in yet.”

Mr. Piccinini was preceded in death by a son, Michael Piccinini. In addition to his daughter Nicole, he is survived by his children Joseph, Alexandria and Dominic Piccinini.

About the author

Lorrie Griffith

Lorrie was Editor at The Shelby Report.

1 Comment

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  • I just learned of Bob’s death. In the 90’s I used to purchase the used corrugated from Bob and have never dealt with a more honest and I might say professional person. Rest well Bob

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