The Ferlita Macaroni Co. in West Tampa
1936 - 1942
1936 - 1942
After moving the factory from Ybor City to 933 Union Street in West Tampa the business flourished with Giuseppe's children who became an integral part of the business operation. However, within a few years of operation at this new location, the Ferlita Macaroni Factory was forced to relocate for its last move because of to a new federal housing project planned for the area. With little compensation from the federal government, the factory was forced to borrow money to finance the relocation of a new factory. Giuseppe secured a loan from International Bank from an old childhood friend from Sicily, Angelo Massari.
The last move for the factory was located at 2001 North Tampania Avenue also in West Tampa. And at the height of the business, the factory shipped pasta throughout Florida and also Georgia.
Giuseppe Ferlita went into semi-retirement around 1939. His son Rosario “Saro” ran the day-to-day operations and his brother-in-law, Frank Ficarrotta worked sales. Giuseppe had an office on the top floor (third level) – to oversee the process of the pasta drying rooms located nearby. Pasta drying was one of the most important steps. Giuseppe would spend most of the time reading various books, periodicals and newspapers.
Within a few years after the start of World War II, his sons enlisted in the military, while the oldest son, Rosario remained to help run the factory. During the war it was allowed that men could be exempt from the draft if they operated an essential business, such as food production factory, like a macaroni factory. During those days there were underhanded deals by draft officials to exempt some families from being called to the draft. According to Giuseppe’s late daughter Mary Tagliarini she had always said that her father’s banker ,Angelo Massari of International Bank, chose to call in the macaroni factory’s loan with the purpose of saving his son, Frank from being drafted.
The Macaroni Factory on Union Street in West Tampa was auctioned at the courthouse steps and even with the help of a family friend; Bill Haggerty the factory was lost. Angelo Massari out bid Mr. Haggerty, and Mr. Massari won the factory. His son avoided the draft by operating a business during the war and afterwards the business stumbled and operated a few years more but later failed.
Around 1945-46 records showed Giuseppe “Nano” Ferlita owed the "Silver Ring Café in Ybor City'. He purchased it from his brother Sam and later sold it to Angelo Cacciatore who remained the owner for the next 40 years.
The loss of the Macaroni Factory broke the heart of Giuseppe and he never seemed to be the same and died a few years later. A man with little education raised eight children and spoke broken English but was able to build a major manufacturing business and leave a legacy that lives in the hearts of his descendants.
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