A Business Grows in Brooklyn
The Rizzutos returned home to Brooklyn full time, and operated for several more years out of the family home, which is still on Avenue T. Assembling the rollers continued to be a family affair. Lee’s children remember sitting at big square wooden tables with raised 2x4s all around the edges. Hollow rollers would be dumped onto the table and three generations of Rizzutos would stuff brushes into the centers. Sets of twelve finished rollers would be wrapped, boxed and taped, ready for delivery. Continental Hair Products was selling millions of rollers and hair clips a year. The business was growing too fast to remain at home much longer, but the warm memories created around those big wooden tables, finishing the day with Josephine’s homemade dinners, are some of the best for all who were lucky enough to be there. Julian’s untimely death from emphysema in 1966 devastated the family. But there were orders to fill, and though still mourning the loss of a beloved husband and father, Josephine declared the Rizzutos a non-smoking family from that day forward, and she and Lee went back to work. From the day Julian and Josephine opened their hair salon to the day the family started the company that would become the multibillion-dollar Conair
Babe, suzie, Lee, Lee Jr. and denis
The Rizzutos company ’ was the American Dream, founded with the spirit, self-confidence, and extraordinary vision of an extraordinary family.