Tony Rossetti

The recent passing of Anthony “Tony” Rossetti marked the end of an era for countless Winthrop residents who came to know Tony and his brother Lou as the proprietors of Publix Shoe store in Winthrop Centre. Tony and Lou operated Publix for 63 years, serving generations of Winthrop residents. We dare say that everyone who grew up in Winthrop from the late 1950s to the 1990s made semi-annual trips to Publix for their new pair of Stride Rite Shoes at the start of every school year and then in the spring for a new pair of Keds or P.F. Flyers sneakers. It is not an exaggeration to say that Tony and Lou sized every foot in town for decades. Personal service was not something that had to be preached to retailers; it was put into practice each and every day  Winthrop was a very different place in terms of retail shopping in that era. Before there were  malls, Walmart, and Amazon, a family never had to leave the town’s confines to fulfill any want or need, whether it be a new car at Peterson Ford, Miles Rambler, and Fullerton Chevrolet, among others; a TV at Brill’s on Shirley Street; men’s clothing at Michael’s; women’s clothing at Belle’s; shoes at Publix and Arthur’s; and appliances at Suburban Gas & Electric. There was a druggist in every section of town — Reilly’s, Brown’s, Bandy’s, and Samuel’s, come readily to mind. In addition to an A&P grocery store in the Centre, there were mom-and-pop corner grocers on every corner. Pulsifer’s on Pt. Shirley was where our mother would send us to get “a pound of their freshest hamburg” almost daily in the summertime. Tony and his brother Lou knew everyone, and everyone knew them. Economists may tell us of how Wall Street has destroyed Main Street, but what they leave out is that in wrecking Main St., Wall Street also removed a part of the fabric of our communities. Ordering a pair of shoes online from Zappo’s does not match the friendliness of Tony and Lou Rossetti when they greeted us when we walked into Publix Shoe twice yearly.  Yes, it’s a different world, but in many respects, not necessarily for the better. We know we join with thousands of Winthrop residents in offering our condolences to the family of Tony Rossetti. May he rest in peace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.