A crosswalk in South Portland was painted in the colors of the Italian flag in honor of DiPietro’s Market’s upcoming 50th anniversary. Drew Johnson / The Forecaster

DiPietro’s Market on Cottage Road in South Portland will be celebrating its 50th year in business in November, and the city found a colorful way of showing their appreciation.

A Public Works crew last Friday painted a nearby crosswalk at Cottage Road and Pillsbury Street, leading into DiPietro Park, green, white and red – the colors of the Italian flag – in honor of the business.

“It was awesome, it was fantastic,” said Sam DiPietro, the market’s owner. “I just think of my parents and how hard they worked.”

DiPietro’s father, Santo, also known as Sam, was a first-generation American whose parents had immigrated from Italy. He and his wife, Helen, opened DiPietro’s Market on Cottage Road in 1972.

The elder DiPietro, who died in 2016 at age 81, served South Portland for over 15 years, first as a city councilor, then-mayor and state representative. He also co-founded the Boy’s and Girl’s Club in South Portland.

The family’s store also has served South Portland well, according to City Councilor Linda Cohen, who requested the crosswalk recognition.


“The store has also always been a place for young people in the neighborhood to work part-time, earning spending money,” Cohen said in an email to The Forecaster, also noting that “through the years, and to this day, the family has worked in the store. ”

Not only is DiPietro excited, but his customers are as well.

“The Facebook response has been overwhelming,” he said. “The amount of people who have commented on it, it’s been amazing.”

DiPietro’s is valued by many community members, Cohen said, both past and present.

“South Portland is fortunate to have some wonderful small businesses,” she said. “When I see Facebook posts from former South Portlanders, they often mention DiPietro’s as one of the places they miss most.”

At the end of the day, DiPietro said, credit goes to his parents for making the business what it is today.

“They put in all that work years ago,” he said. “They would really get a kick out of this.”

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