Vassilaros & Sons was founded in 1919 by John Anthony Vassilaros, a Greek immigrant who was born on the rocky island of Ikaria.
In 1962, the company relocated to a 25,000-square-foot plant in College Point to accommodate its growth. Two years later, John Vassilaros, the grandson of the founder, took over as president.
But in 2015, he unexpectedly passed away. Alexandra Vassilaros, John’s wife and now the president of the company, stepped in with the help of other family members to steady the company.
Alexandra can still recall that when she was young, her grandmother predicted that she would get married and have three girls.
“I did get married, and I had three boys,” she said. “But she was reading from a cup of Vassilaros Coffee.”
Vassilaros called it an “act of fate” that she met John at a convention of people from Ikaria, where both of their families are from.
“That was the beginning of a real beautiful experience,” she said, “where I was exposed to a lot of his part of the business, to his family and the relationships they had in the business community, which were vibrant.”
This year, Vassilaros & Sons celebrated its 100th anniversary. Although they hired a new CEO from outside the family to run the company, the Vassilaros family legacy still looms large.
“If you say the name Vassilaros, I have a lot of pride in this,” Vassilaros said. “I take seriously the legacy that they built and that my husband carried on and built in his own way.
“Those three big-shouldered gentlemen, to stand on their shoulders with some awe,” she added, “it’s required.”