History of Redding Connecticut (CT) Header
Audio Files & Oral History
Books about Redding
Branchville, CT History
Churches in Redding
Churches in Georgetown
Daily History Archives
Donate to the H of R
Early Families of Redding
Early Settlement History
Early Manufacturers
Famous People of Redding
First Telephones in Redding
Flood of 1955
Georgetown, CT History
Georgetown Redevelopment
Gilbert & Bennett History
Hiking Trails in Redding
History of Schools
Huntington Park
Indian Paths thru Redding
Landscape- Farms, Waterways, Geology
Mark Twain in Redding, CT
Little Brick Schoolhouse
Maps of Redding, CT
My brother Sam is dead
News 1966-1992
Old Homes of Redding
Parish History (1729-67)
Pictures of Redding, CT
Putnam Park
RBGC History
Redding Center History
Redding Country Club
Redding Remembered
Redding Ridge History
Summary of Land Use
Wars- Revolutionary, Civil
West Redding History
Sponsors Page
Redding Businesses
Redding Builders
Redding New Construction
Redding Real Estate
Redding Restaurants
Redding Organizations
Redding Town Site
Redding Pilot
Redding Elementary
John Read Middle School
Joel Barlow High School
Region 9 Schools
RBGC Web site
Redding Fire & EMS #1
Mark Twain Library
League of Women Voters
Redding Neighbors & Newcomers
About the Designer
Contact Us


Bonsignores'- Modern Country Store
Georgetown Market Established 1922

From the Redding Times, February 26, 1959

Want to learn how to raise silver pheasants? Keep woodchucks out of the garden? Press wine from an authentic old Italian recipe?

A good solution to these problems would be a visit to the Georgetown Market. Jap and Mondo Bonsignore probably know the answers. If they don't, they most certainly know someone who does. They have lived in this town all their lives.

The Bonsignore brothers own and operate a modern counterpart of the country store of earlier times, complete even to good fellowship at the cracker barrel.

The Georgetown Market was established in 1922 by Guiseppe Bonsignore in the traditional pattern of the New England general store. Today, it is still providing Georgetown, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston and Wilton with goods and services. The goods have altered somewhat, with the advance of time, but the old-fashioned friendly service remains the same.

History of Market

Guiseppe Bonsignore arrived here from Sicily in 1905, young and eager for the American way of life. With him was his wife, Guiseppina, and his infant son, Nino, the first of their five children.

He spoke no English, and came to Redding to be with his only relative in the United States, his uncle, who was caretaker of Mark Twain's home. When the uncle passed on, Guiseppe took over as Stormfield's gardener and general handyman.

[Note: The dates may be off here...Mark Twain's home wasn't here in 1905, it wasn't completed until 1908. He did have a caretaker named Guiseppe though.]

By this time, a second son had joined the family. His mother named him Jasper, hut his friends have long since rechristened him "Jap."

Georgetown remembers the year 1918. Not only was it the first year of peace after World War I, but it brought with it a vicious epidemic of flu that raged through this section of the state.

It also marked the arrival of the third Bonsignore son, Armondo. But in this case, his mother was responsible also for the nickname of "Mondo."

By 1922, Guiseppe was finally able to venture into business for himself. Located in the building right next to the present store, it was a small establishment, but the realization of a big dream.

Being so close to the new railroad station in Georgetown, it was named The Georgetown Market. And there was another reason. Guiseppe had earned some of the money for his store by helping to lay the first New Haven tracks into Georgetown.

In their store, Guiseppe and Guiseppina sold everything. Aside from the usual drygoods and foodstuffs, they dealt also in pots and pans, hardware, clothing, millinery and boots.

As soon as they were big enough to see over the counters, Jap and Mondo were helping at the store. This early exposure to marketing gave the boys practical knowledge and some vivid memories. Jap laughingly recalls the widely varied;array of merchandise in the tiny store.

"Big stacks of kettles set around oil the floor. It wasn't unusual for my father to stick a stiff pair of rolled overalls in a bag along with potatoes. Or a fur cap in with the onions."

Even in those days, before the motivational researchers moved in, the Bonsignores instinctively realized the power of impulse in buying. There were colorful posters and articles on display all around the crowded little store. Jap remembers this early education in the art of selling.

"One day, a man came in for some seed. Big heavy boots were on display. Soon he was stomping around in his stocking feet, trying on boots. Finally he bought a pair but he left without his seed!"

In 1928, the store moved to its present location. Jap and Mondo took over the business after their father's retirement in 1939. Under their friendly proprietorship, the market has continued to grow and prosper. They have enlarged to include the adjacent G and B Liquor Store.


The senior member of the Bonsignore team was born on Peaceable Street in Branchville. He at- tended the Gilbert and Bennett School, and later, Norwalk High School.

"Redding and Easton didn't get together soon enough for me." Jap said, rather regretfully. Im- mediately after graduation, he began his full-time duties at the store.

Jap has a large brick house on Route 53 in Redding. His wife, Arlene, is a Massachusetts girl whom he married in 1939. They have two lovely blonde daughters: Joy, 13, and Dawn, 10.

Jap is tall, dark-haired, and always pleasant. In his own quiet way, he is a human dynamo, and seems to thrive on hard work, The busier he is, the happier he appears.

Aside from the store, which is an armful in itself, he is extremely active in community affairs. This interest in extra-curricular activity began in childhood, with boy-scouting: and playing in a fife and drum corps.

Jap is acutely aware of civic responsibilities, and shoulders his full share. Be holds membership in almost every organized group in town, including the Lion’s Club, Georgetown Fire Department, and the Sacred Heart Church.

"We love this town, and we're willing to do anything for its benefit. I am really proud if I can have a part in making Redding a better place for us all."


The younger of the Bonsignore brothers was also born in Branchville, and he, too, attended the Gilbert and Bennett School. Then he made a start at Henry Abbott, technical school in Danbury.

But he soon discovered that engineering wasn't for him, and he hurried back to Jap's warm wel- come into the business he knew and loved.

Like Jap, Mondo is tall and dark, but of stockier figure and more demonstrative nature. His ebullient personality pervades the store, as does his booming voice. A conversation with Mondo is half the fun of a visit to the market.

His interests and experiences, all of a very practical nature, are very informative on the subject of Redding: its life and times. He is an outdoor man in his spare time; loves gardening land just plain "working around the house."

He is the one who undertook the delicate task of raising six perverse silver pheasants, That episode must be heard from Mondo's own lips to be fully appreciated, At present, he is struggling with the dubious pleasure of bottling apple champagne. He has reduced the essence of a truckload of apples to a liquid state, and confined it in a number of glass containers. The bottles are stored, but must be rotated regularly. "So far everything's fine. Now if they just won't explode!" he muttered grimly.

Mondo has a large new home on 38 acres deep in Redding. He and his wife, Mary, have been married for fifteen years and have a son, John, 13, and a daughter, Mary, 9.

He feels it is still too early to tell if his son will continue in the family pattern and eventually take over the store. Young John does help at the market occasionally, but hasn't expressed his plans for the future.

Work Load

There is no particular division of labor at the market. Jap and Mon do function equally well as butchers or bookkeepers.

These two brothers work well together. Their contrasting natures complement each other, and unite to form an efficient work team. It is this blend of character that gives the market its unique personality.

Nowadays, they concentrate mainly on the groceries. But closer examination of the store's merchandise will reveal patent medicines (yes, even Mothersill’s tablets and Save-the-Baby cough syrup!) grass seed, electrical equipment, garden hose, gloves, socks, charcoal and waste baskets.

Both men put in about eleven hours a day at the store, which would seem a heavy work load for anyone, even the energetic Jap. But neither seems to mind the long day.

“It’s nothing like the war years, though,” Mondo recalls. “That was a bad time, with rationing and all. We’d work at the store till two or three in the morning, wrapping the meat in to coupon allotment packages. Then there was the counting of coupons, and counting bags of sugar, and pounds of butter. A real madhouse!


The most serious setback the market has ever experienced was the flood in October of 1955. The Bonsignores lost everything, quite literally. Not only were all the foods spoiled through submersion, but all the machinery, such as refrigerators and meat grinders, was ruined beyond repair.

The final blow was discovered the next day. Inadvertently, all the week's receipts had been left in the store, and were carried away on the flood tide.

But the Bonsignores proved themselves heroes that storm stricken night. Jap received a call late at night, telling him that the flood was rising and he'd better get down to the market im- mediately.

He waded down Route 53 and met Mondo at the store. At that point, the floor of the market was under water.

A young family lived in the apartment above the store. Realizing that they would need help in getting out, Jap and Mondo made their wet way over to the Georgetown Fire Department to get a rowboat.

Forty minutes later, when they arrived back in the boat, the water was eight inches from the ceil ing of the store.

With the boat, they were able to rescue the stranded father, mother, little boy, and six-week-old infant from the upstairs apartment.

Mondo spent the remainder of the wild wet night sleeping on a billiard table in Georgetown. Jap rowed home, up Redding Road. He found his wife, exhausted with worry and waiting, sitting holt up right, fast asleep with her head against the cold windowpane.

When asked if he could remember any other serious obstacles the market had encountered, Mondo laughed and said, "No, not unless you want to count the floor-pacing during the depres sion!"

Other Bonsignores

The three other Bonsignore children still live in the Georgetown-Redding area. Nino, the eld- est son, chose not to go into the grocery business. He lives Branchville and is affiliated with the Nazzaro family in the Bethel Sand and Gravel Company.

The two youngest children, both girls, are part owners of the Georgetown Market, along with Jan and Mondo. Serena married Louis Nazzaro; Mary is the wife of Anthony Naz- zaro. Both families live on Redding Road.

As children, the girls also worked in the market, and retain their share of memories.

"For a while," said Serene, "there was a small lunch counter in the market. We served coffee and sandwiches.

"I remember the big truck my father had," Mary added. "Once a week he'd drive down to the docks in New York City and pick up a huge load of green bananas. He'd bring them home here to ripen and then to sell.

"We sold jewelry and men's tailored suits, too. My father would take the customer's measurements, then send them to a New York store to have the suit made up. On the side, he maintained a taxi service."

Guiseppe Bonsignore was a versatile merchant.

Future of Store

At present, the Georgetown Market is cramped for space. Jap and Mondo are planning on enlarging the physical store sometime within the next two years. They feel that their business merits this expansion now, particularly if the Redding area continues to grow as it has during the past five years.

But even with all their present actvities and future plans, the Bonsignores are never to busy to help and advise. ”

*Note: The Georgetown Market has been sold and houses 2 businesses now: an ice cream shop and an interior decorator's office. B.Colley 2007

Back to TOP | Back to Redding Section | Back to Georgetown Section



History of Redding is a not a business or an organization..It's one person working to promote the history of his hometown
and surrounding areas. All costs are out-of-pocket so donations and/or sponsorships will allow me to dedicate more time
and effort to research and updates.