Their maternal grandfather owned his own construction firm: D. Giamberardino Construction Co. So did their father: Richard DiMarco General Contractor.
Thus, it was only natural for his sons, John and Richard, to follow in those mortar-dusted footprints—first doing masonry with their father, and then branching out on their own.
But the most important lesson John and Richard learned about construction had nothing to do with building a structure to last, like the Belleayre Apartments which Domenico Giamberardino built in Ithaca in 1929 and that still serves tenants today, or with the craftsmanship their father displayed as a mason.
Instead, it was about life. The Great Depression forced Domenico Giamberardino into bankruptcy.
“My father saw the depths of the Depression,” Richard said.
Said John: “That kind of gave us the manuscript of how our lives would go. We learned you could lose it all, that bad things could happen and you should prepare yourself for that.”
In fact, when their father started his firm in 1945, he was careful not to extend himself financially. He preferred small and steady, not grandiose and vulnerable.
That wasn’t lost on John and Richard. Maintaining the core values of honesty and trust that were passed along by their family, they have made a lasting mark on Rochester and beyond.
Their firm, DiMarco Constructors, renovated Geva Theatre, rehabilitated the Sibley Building, created Monroe Community College’s downtown campus in part of the old Eastman Kodak Co. offices, and constructed more than 150 Walmart and/or Sam’s Club stores for Samuel Walton up and down the East Coast.
“Our father didn’t make all the money but he made what he needed,” John DiMarco said. “And he gave us a great name, because he was very honorable. Honor above everything.”
That has enabled the family business to branch out into other ventures. The DiMarco Group includes the construction firm as well as ADMAR Construction Equipment & Supplies, Baldwin Real Estate and DiMarco Realty Services.
Now they not only build things, they rent equipment to others that do through ADMAR, and also manage and development mixed-use properties. DiMarco Constructors was No. 3 among commercial builders in the Rochester Business Journal’s 2019 Book of Lists. ADMAR has grown from a rental inventory of scaffolding, some compressors, some forklifts and some generators to a $120 million, all-things-construction operation with 10 offices across New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
John DiMarco admits they maybe weren’t as conservative as their father would have liked, but the growth was done wisely and prudently.
“My brother and I worked hard, we saved our money and we reinvested in the business,” said John, who is 77. His brother is 82.
They aren’t done yet, either. While John L. DiMarco II is now president of the DiMarco Group, John and Richard are still coming to work every day.
“Our business is our hobby,” John said. “We really like what we do.”
The only time John ever thought about getting out was in 1986, when the state of New York bought the property that housed their business near East Main Street and Goodman Street. The state needed to reconstruct a roadway.
“I was going to retire,” John recalled.
“He had a weak moment,” his son, John II, joked.
Indeed, more than 30 years later, he and his brother are still going strong. “The only thing my brother doesn’t do is sit,” John said.
“For two guys who only did masonry, we’ve come a long way.”