Fifty years ago, Paraskevoula and Pete Fotiadis, two immigrants from northern Greece, opened a small delicatessen in the small industrial town of Eddystone, south of Philadelphia.
The store, named Vicki’s Cold Cuts in honor of Paraskevoula’s local nickname – Vicki — quickly became a neighborhood favorite and served community workers from small and large companies alike.
Eddystone was once home to the world’s largest producer of steam locomotives, Baldwin Locomotives, which employed thousands of migrant workers throughout both World Wars. But in the 1970s, the Baldwin factory shut down and thousands of jobs disappeared.
Many “mom-and-pop” businesses left or closed down. But Vicki’s Cold Cuts persevered through it all — and has continued to thrive for decades.
To this day, many residents who left town return to this place they consider home, where they pay homage to the Greek family that started it all.
Some customers graduated from college, others moved away and began their own families — but no matter how far they traveled, one mantra always remained true.
“All roads lead to Vicki’s.”
This is the expression embraced by current store owner George Fotiadis, son of Paraskevoula and Pete — who immigrated to the United States from the Greek cities of Kastoria and Thessaloniki, respectively, in 1955.
“These people have been our friends and our customers for decades,” George says. “And it’s been many generations of workers – guys that, when I was a kid, their sons are now working at [the local companies]. It’s really cool dealing with people that you’ve known for decades.”
He adds: “After you’ve been in a place for so long and you take care of people and they keep coming back… it’s not [about] dollars and cents. It’s more about the people.”
George’s father passed away and his mother Vicki since retired, but she remains a constant presence at the store she and her husband opened during their early years in America.
“When they see me, the customers, I always have to come and hug them and give them a kiss,” Vicki says. “[They say] ‘Ah, how are you doing? We miss you!’ and I miss them. Really, I miss working at the store. You can’t work all your life, but I miss it.”
For George, the store has surpassed the point of being merely a workplace — it’s a gathering point.
“My friends and my cousins come here for lunch every day, and we hang out here and it’s just like a romantic, very special occasion on a daily basis,” George says. “We laugh, we argue, we network.”
“My cousin John said ‘All roads lead to Vicki’s,’ and it stuck. So we really thrive on that.”
The Fotiadis family continues to own and operate Vicki’s Cold Cuts on 1033 Saville Ave in Crum Lynne, Pennsylvania.
This story was shared with The Pappas Post by our partners at Cosmos Philly. Visit their website.