Vaccaro brothers originally from Sicily were Italian-American businessmen. Involved in import of fresh produce, they incorporated as the Vaccaro Bros. and Co. in 1906. Also expanded into providing ice to refrigerate the ships eventually building up a 35-ship fleet. As the nature of businesses expanded, in 1924, the company's name was changed to Standard Fruit Company and in 1926 to Standard Fruit and Steamship Company.
Joseph Vaccaro was born in Contessa Entellina, Sicily in 1855 and came to the United States in 1867. Felix and Luca Vaccaro joined him later. Their sister, Maria Vaccaro married Salvador D'Antoni and the Vaccaro brothers and D'Antoni pooled their resources and began importing bananas and fresh produce from La Ceiba, Honduras in 1899. They imported coconuts first from Honduras, then later bananas. They incorporated as the Vaccaro Bros. and Co. in 1906.
They began operating steamships and cultivating fruit crops and by 1915, they rivaled United Fruit in the banana trade in New Orleans. During World War I, the two companies were competing for ice to refrigerate the ships. The Vaccaro brothers were able to trump the competition by buying all the ice houses in New Orleans and Joseph Vaccaro became known as the "Ice King".
They were able to expand quickly after the war by buying surplus ships at a discount. In 1924, the company's name was changed to Standard Fruit Company and in 1926 to Standard Fruit and Steamship Company. By 1935, 35 ships were in operation.
Thomas L. Karnes, "Tropical Enterprise: The Standard Fruit & Steamship Company in Latin America", Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978
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