Rago Brothers through the Decades 4 Generations of Expertise
1911 – From Italy to Morristown, NJ
In 1911, Thomas “Nicolas” Rago and his brother came to Morristown, New Jersey, from Southern Italy and opened the original Rago Brothers Shoe Repair Shop. They were among many immigrant families who made their homes and businesses here. It was a bustling neighborhood, brimming with activity, day and night. At that time, Rago Brothers was one of two dozen shoe repair shops in Morristown. Throughout the years, other shops moved or closed, while Rago Brothers remained.
1940 – The Sole of An Immigrant
Thomas Sr. (“Tommy”) joined his father as a boy in the 1940’s. Tommy would go to the shop after high school many days and help his father. Sometimes, when his parents went back to Italy to visit family, they left Tommy to run the shop on his own. He kept the business strong, and had an impact on the community around him, as his generosity was well known.
70s and 80s – 3rd Generation Rago Brothers
In the late seventies, Tommy brought on the third generation with his oldest son, Thomas (Tom), who learned the skill of shoe and leather repair early on, helping around the shop after school as Tommy once did as a boy. Tommy and Tom worked in the shop together, and Tom also began to oversee the growing operation as the business grew and more leather technicians joined. Tommy’s younger son, Anthony (Tony), joined in the late eighties. Previously, Tony had graduated from Bucknell University and had become a Wall Street Options Trader, but he found the pace at Rago Brothers even faster and the work more fulfilling than the trading pit. The three Rago men worked side-by-side repairing shoes and other leather items for local customers.
1990 – Celebrating 100 Years and Growing
In the late 1990’s, Tom and Tony started doing repairs for stores at a shopping mall nearby. The brothers expanded their offerings to repair fine leather handbags and accessories. The word spread, and eventually they were repairing handbags and shoes for retail stores nationwide. Local customers also helped grow the business, telling family and friends about the repair services the Ragos offered. Soon, customers were calling from all around the country asking how they can get their shoes and handbags repaired at Rago Brothers. As the business grew larger, they called in their sister, Mary Lynn Rago Powell, to the helm to manage the accounting for their growing business. In 2011, Tommy, MaryLynn, Tom, and Tony proudly celebrated Rago Brothers 100th year of business with a grand ribbon cutting celebration.
2016 – 4th Generation Siblings
In 2016, the fourth generation came into the business when Tony’s son, Anthony (Lafayette College, 2014), made a career change and decided to work in the shop. Anthony’s sister, Marissa (Boston College, 2015), did the same and joined the family business shortly after Anthony. Both had been around the shop since they were children, helping their father and uncle with small tasks behind the counter, and creating unique masterpieces with the leftover scraps of leather from soles. Throughout high school and college, they worked at the shop on breaks to help out in whatever way they could, so the full-time transition into the business came naturally to them.
The Rago Family Tradition Continues…
The Rago Brothers continue to give back to the community as Tommy did, and are proud to employ residents in the town and sponsor local sports teams. Today, the Ragos carry on the family tradition of quality, service, hard work, and dedication to their customers with the help of their highly skilled leather technicians and account executives, who have diverse prior work experience and skills from FIT, luxury retail store management, handbag making, coat making, and shoe making.
Yeah, we can fix that ™️
– The Rago Brothers