When Alfred Ciccotelli, Sr. (Mr. C) first began selling imported Italian food back in the 1950s, he didn’t see himself as a true pioneer in the food industry. His only objective was to bring authentic Italian foods to the local corner grocery store. But with his vision, hard work and perseverance, he established what has become the most popular food category in America today.
Mr. C’s humble beginnings can be traced back to working at his father’s store in South Philadelphia. His teenage years were interrupted by World War II where he served in the Pacific theater, rose to Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army and received an honorable discharge in October 1946. When he returned home, much had changed. During his time away, his father passed and his family grocery store closed. He started out with a couple of neighborhood jobs and was soon approached by a Philadelphia wholesaler (circa 1950) that sold candy and tobacco to local stores. Within one year, he was promoted to sales manager and began to introduce Italian specialties to stores. After building the Italian specialty business, the owners wanted to cut back on Italian foods to stay within their main candy and tobacco business.
In 1962, Alanric Food Distributors was born. What he lacked in start-up resources, Mr. C made up for in passion, sacrifice, vision and an unwavering belief that the American consumer would embrace Italian foods. He continued to establish his Italian specialty lines along his long-term vision to distribute his own premium brand of the finest foods from all regions of Italy. His brand would reflect the best of Italian culture, as he chose only to work with associates that would practice his motto, “just treat people right”.
Mr. C’s vision and pioneering spirit were carried into the business’ second generation when his sons, Alfred Jr. and Rick, joined the company. Alfred Jr.’s vision of a premium Italian brand migrating from the local corner grocery store to mainstream supermarkets was realized as the Cento brand achieved national distribution in all 50 states.
Through it all, Mr. C’s legacy continues. Mr. C’s son, Rick, and granddaughter, Gina, lead the company along with many family members who embrace the same work ethic and commitment to customer satisfaction that were instilled in them by Mr. C.
Today, Cento is recognized as a leading premium quality brand and is preferred by the finest chefs across America. With our eight proprietary brands and more than 1,000 specialty products, Cento has something to suit all of your culinary needs while providing the best consumer value. Our extensive quality assurance specifications ensure that each item is produced to our proprietary standards to yield a consistent, premium quality product. A family owned and operated company spanning three generations, you can “Trust Your Family with Our Family”.
Cento’s ongoing goals for the future include promoting sustainability and further focusing on bringing traceability to our consumers. All aspects of our products adhere to our strict specifications to ensure a premium quality, authentic product. Through PAC and Find My Field, powered by PAC Traceability, we are transparent in our product’s origin and quality control standards, and we aim to bring this transparency to an assortment of our other premium Italian products.