John Castrogiovanni – 1981

Jim Quinn photo, above

“Hilander still uses Dad’s ideas” by Cathy Rogers

Source: Rockford Register Star 8/10/1981 and also Rockfordiana:  Biographies, CAR – CAZ

Construction begins next month on the Fourth Hilander Store in Rockford; essentially one for each of the four brothers who were born and raised in the grocery business,

The new store will be at Spring Creek and Mulford. A general contractor has been hired to oversee building plans for the building. Previously the patriarch, Joseph, handled those details.  “He was the boss,” said number 3 son, John.

Joseph, their father, immigrated from Italy in the early 1900’s and sent for his mother and siblings a few years later.  He was first employed at Nelson Knitting Co. and worked part time at a local meat market.  Anthony and Joseph persuaded Joseph’s boss to lend them $1000 to open their own meat market, Sanitary Meat Market, 1006 S. Main St. Within 6 months the loan was paid off.  In 1937, the brothers, opened the second meat market at 2219 East State St., featuring homemade Italian sausages. In 1947, the grocery chain decided to move and took the plunge into the full grocery business.  By 1955, the third Castrogiovanni store opened on South Wyman St.. During the past two decades, three more were added to the family chain.  The store at 1715 Rural St. opened in 1959, the one at S. Alpine Rd. and Charles St. in 1966, and the last one at 3710 N. Main St. in 1977.  During that same period the store on So. Wyman and East State St. closed.

4 sons are:  Anthony, based at the Alpine Store, Alfred, based on N. Main St., John, based at Rural St. and Joseph handles the grocery and non-food items at the Alpine Store. The stores now employ about 360 people.  Another recent venture is Giovanni’s Restaurant, 610 N. Bell School Rd., in 1977.