Rocco’s Corner Store

We have driven past the building on the corner of Fifth Street and Hillside Avenue and could tell that the house was previously a business of some sort but could only speculate. I vaguely remember a sign on the side that once read Rocco’s but it has since been covered and the building would remain a mystery. That is until we talked to a couple of the people in the neighborhood who had lived there their entire lives.

    Ms. Carmel Conti ran her corner grocery store there for many years. The store was originally called Conti’s until Ms. Conti married Mr. John Rocco and the name of the store was changed to Rocco’s which is what many of the people remember it as.
The memories of the store and of Mrs. Rocco were all very kind and she is remembered fondly by those that depended upon that store. We spoke with Mr. Hockenberry who recalled as a child going into the store for penny candy and spend an hour looking at the glass display case with a nickel trying to solve the difficult decision. He recalled the whole time he would stand there, Mrs. Rocco would stand there patiently waiting upon him never rushing him, all for only a nickel.
Another memory that the locals have of the store was the running bill that Rocco’s kept for all the families in the neighborhood. At anytime a mother could tell a child to run down to Rocco’s to get a loaf of bread and Carmel would simply add it to the families tab to be settled up on payday. This was a common practice in Ellwood City at the time, but Rocco’s took it a little bit more personal and actually looked out for the families in the neighborhood. As the mill workers seemed to either be laid off or on strike every two years, Rocco’s helped when they could. One gentleman told us that when his Dad was laid off Carmel would let the family keep a tab for the extended time until he was back to work and was able to pay the bill off.
When this website crashed, there were three people who had shared their memories. Unfortunately I am still unable to retrieve these memories but I am working on them. If you recall Rocco’s and would like to share your own memories, please leave a comment below or email me at

One thought on “Rocco’s Corner Store”

  1. I am proud to say I am one of Carmel Conti Rocco and John George Rocco’s granddaughters!! Many days as a child I would help stamp merchandise or organize the face soaps on the shelves at the store!!! I treasure these memories and recall Gram and Grandpa Rocco with their white long aprons on waiting on deli or butcher customers. Always greeting each customer with care and a smile! I posted before about my experience, but it was list when the web site crashed.So……..I am back! Thank you for the picture…..I learned so much wisdom from this earlier days………Marian Jo Nardone Brady

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