Mixers, ribbon cuttings, grand openings – chances are you’ve probably seen Linda Parenti working behind the scenes and beside Maria Martinucci at many a Chamber of Commerce event. Linda and her husband Dave are longtime residents with deep roots in the community. Together they have two daughters, Julie and Lori, and a grandson, Lucca.
Linda has worked in various industries including health care, hospitality, and manufacturing. Her last nine years of employment was at Gimbal’s Fine Candiesin South San Francisco where she served as Director of Human Resources. At Gimbal’s, Linda actively participated in community service and programs, and during that time was elected to the Board of Directors at the South San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Linda retired from Gimbal’s in 2013, and in 2014 began working at the South San Francisco Chamber of Commerce on various projects and events. “Working on projects that help promote the South San Francisco business community and provide networking opportunities is important to me,” said Linda. “Through the collective efforts of the Board members and City Leaders, the Chamber has an opportunity to create a positive influence on the local economy.”
In addition, Linda was appointed to the South San Francisco Housing Authoritywhere she currently serves as Commissioner. This is South San Francisco from her perspective.When did you move to South San Francisco?
I initially lived in South San Francisco and then at an early age moved to San Bruno. In 1968 I returned to South San Francisco to live, work, marry, and raise a family.
What brought you to South San Francisco?
My family and my husband’s family were immigrants from Europe and have resided in South San Francisco for 100 years. I see generations of families that continue to work and live here. South San Francisco holds a special place in my heart. I guess you can say I’ve rooted here.
What is one of your favorite memories of South San Francisco?
It’s hard to pick just one. Here’s a few:
- Walking downtown as a child and knowing every business owner, and they also knew your family, which was a plus most of the time.
- Visiting stores on Grand Avenue such as JC Penney, Santini & Roccucci, The Hub, Palace Market, sitting at the counter of Anchor Drug store and eating Auntie Caroline Fregosi’s cheeseburgers, then stopping in atSanitary Bakery for donuts after Church on Sundays.
- My husband’s uncle had a jewelry store, Parenti’s Jewelers, on Grand Avenue. We had many relatives who worked in South San Francisco, at Fuller Paint Company, Guy F. Atkinson Construction Co, Town Liquor, Arata Pontiac, Leo Jacopi & Sons, Anchor Drug Store, and Giorgi Brothers.
- I remember hiking up Sign Hill and sliding down on cardboard boxes, and many years later, my children and their friends did the same thing.
- Another memorable event is marrying Dave Parenti at All Souls Church on December 1, 1968, and having our reception at the Rod & Gun Club in South San Francisco.
What is one piece of history that you think most people don’t know about when it comes to South San Francisco?
South San Francisco really was the “Industrial City” employing so many people at steel mills, meat plants, and stockyards. Many of the women, including my grandmother, worked at the duck farms on Mission Road where El Camino High School is currently at, or, they worked in food manufacturing at Gimbal’s Fine Candies, or at See’s Candies.Mama Bertolucci ran a boarding house and cooked food and brought it to employees at steel mills. There were also food trucks driving through neighborhoods selling everything from fresh baked bread, to meat, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Who knows, the idea for the current popular food trucks may have started in South City! Before their current locations, the Police and Fire departments where initially housed in the bottom of the City Hall.
What do you think is the “best kept secret” of South San Francisco?
- Oyster Point Marina is just one of the best kept secrets in South San Francisco– a real gem not to be missed. It’s one of our most beautiful areas for boating, walking, picnicking, fishing, or just sitting on the park bench with a good book and soaking up the sun.
- We have some of the most wonderful restaurants in town, and they are as diverse as the City’s culture. Some of the restaurants have received national recognition!
Working at the South San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, I get the opportunity to meet the new business owners in South San Francisco, organize ribbon cuttings and mixers, and attend fun events at the Oyster Point Yacht Club. Of course, another favorite thing to do is sampling all the delicious foods at our wonderful restaurants.
What do you want other people to know about South San Francisco?
South San Francisco has a lot to offer to individuals, families, and businesses. In my opinion, it’s one of the more progressive communities that has evolved into the Biotech industry yet still retains the look and feel of a small town. I see generations of families that continue to live, work, play, and shop in South San Francisco. We’re fortunate to have such a culturally diverse community.