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Manayunk Businessman, Activist, Philanthropist Dies

Rick Carocci, of TransAmerican Office Furniture, died Saturday.

A long-time Manayunk advocate and catalyst for Main Street revitalization died.

Rick Carocci—owner of TransAmerican Office Furniture, board member with the Manayunk Special Services District and Manayunk Development Corporation, and benefactor to North Light Community Center—died Saturday, according to MDC Executive Director Jane Lipton.

In an email Sunday, Lipton shared the news of Carocci's death. 

It is with sadness that I let all of you know that we lost our good friend Rick Carocci yesterday.  Rick owned TransAmerican Office Furniture in Manaynk.  He and his wife Barbara were very active participants in BAM, MDC and the MSSD and Rick was one of the early "movers and shakers" that helped shape our commercial redevelopment.  Always up to the challenge, Rick was a generous businessman and philanthropist who supported not only local but regional causes.  Please join me in offering heartfelt condolences to Barbara and the entire Carocci Family.

Carocci opened TransAmerican Office Furniture at 3800 Main St. in 1976, while others like him were transforming mills and industrial buildings into art galleries, small businesses, restaurants and boutiques.

Just as Manayunk grew, so did his business. He continued to keep its corporate headquarters and showroom in Philadelphia, while expanding to Reading and Allentown.

That small business exploded from three employees and $250,000 in annual sales to 70 employees and $15 million a year in sales, according to a 2003 Philadelphia Inquirer article.

The businessman championed Philadelphia, and Manayunk especially. At his urging, then-City Councilman Michael Nutter sponsored legislation that gave preference to Philadelphia-based businesses for city contractors.

In February, now-Mayor Nutter spotlighted Barbara and Rick Carocci—in addition to Dan Neducsin, Mike Rose, Bruce Cooper, and Bob Swarbrick—for restoring life to Main Street.

These "pioneers of Manayunk, the folks who really—20, 30 years ago—made folks take a second, third and fourth look at this great neighborhood and its history. Not only its industrial past but its retail and commercial future," he said.

Carocci certainly will leave a positive economic impact on Manayunk, but his humanitarian successes also won him local acclaim. Earlier this year, the North Light Community Center honored him with the Corporate Community Advocate Award for "opening so many doors for North Light" the nonprofit said.

Services will be held Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood, Lipton said.

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