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Russo’s market set to close after more than 100 years in Watertown

Family started business as farm in the early 1900s

Ara Chamlian shopped at Russo's in Watertown in 2019.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Russo’s market in Watertown is preparing to close shop after more than 100 years in business, the company announced.

Tony Russo, who has been working at his family’s market for more than 70 years, is retiring and the store will close in the fall, Russo’s said in a statement on its website.

The company started as a small farm in Watertown more than a century ago, and Tony worked alongside his grandparents and later his father and uncle at their wholesale warehouse.

“Their work ethic became his inspiration,” the statement said.

The farm was founded by Antonio Russo in the early 1900s, according to Russo’s website.


“He sold tomatoes, beans and lettuce to his neighbors and at [Faneuil] Hall and Quincy Market in Boston,” the website said.

Tony Russo tended to flowers outside his market in 2019. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The family opened its first store, Town Garden, on Main Street, and their original warehouse was on Lexington Street in Watertown, according to their website. Today they are located at 560 Pleasant St.

In the 1970s, Tony backed efforts by the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture to support local farming through its slogan “Massachusetts, Grown & Fresher.”

Throughout his time at the market Tony worked “tirelessly to source his products from the best local, regional, national and international growers,” their website said.

Over the years Tony worked in all areas of the retail and wholesale business, including trimming vegetables, driving trucks, loading and unloading trailers, putting up wholesale orders and “overseeing the most subtle details of the retail store,” the statement said. “His days begin around 3:30 AM and end after 8 PM.”

Tony will also miss his employees, who worked everyday “sometimes outside in the harshest of weather conditions.”

The statement also cited Tony’s dedication to his employees and customers.

“We can not overstate Tony’s dedication to the world of fruits, vegetables and flowers,” the statement said. “We also can not overstate his dedication to Russo’s wonderful employees, customers, growers and suppliers. And we can not thank Tony enough for what he has brought to so many people’s lives.”


Adam Sennott can be reached at adam.sennott@globe.com.