Written by Julianne Reichert, Duane Morris LLP

What began as a decision that three cousins came to one night in 1990 involving lots of wine and no desire for looking back has evolved into an enduringly prosperous venture. Bill Mignucci, Jr., Emilio Mignucci and Bill Mignucci “just went with it” that night, buying family business DiBruno Bros. from founders Danny and Joe DiBruno. In the 22 years since, DiBruno Bros. has grown from a small grocery store in the Italian Market to four retail stores, www.DiBrunoBros.com, a catering operation, an importing business and a commissary kitchen. The Mignuccis credit the successful growth of DiBruno Bros. to both employee empowerment and their customers’ loyalty. A group of YPN members gathered one October morning to listen to Bill Jr. and Emilio Mignucci  discuss the challenges and rewards of taking over the family business, all the while noshing on a delicious spread of breads, pastries, cheeses and accouterments from DiBruno Bros.

Due to the lack of succession planning when they purchased DiBruno Bros., it was a sink-or-swim moment in their lives. Danny and Joe stayed on with the company for only six weeks afterward. Although the family presence remained, all operational, managerial, financial and business development decisions were now in Bill Jr., Emilio and Bill’s hands. They were very good at problem solving, and their customers were rather gracious at allowing mistakes. DiBruno Bros. empowers their employees at the store level; most are known as culinary pioneers and able to bring in new products to the store’s customers. Bill Jr. and Emilio feel that culinary pioneering is what truly differentiates them from their competitors.

It was easy to sense the Mignuccis’ commitment to not only DiBruno Bros. but also to the Philadelphia community. When asked whether they have plans to expand beyond Philadelphia, they advised that no near-future plans exist, noting that it’s important to preserve the company’s legacy of providing a gourmet food experience while enhancing their customers’ lives. Bill is a firm believer in the core value of “Servant Leadership,” adding that it supports and encourages people to serve others before themselves.

Although the Mignuccis bought the company without much planning, it’s easy to see they have made many wise decisions concerning its future direction. Sinking was never an option.

View photos of the event here.