Community Mourns Death of Businessman Albert Covelli

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- The flag is at half-staff at the Covelli Centre downtown and outside the Warren headquarters of Covelli Enterprises, in honor of its founder, Albert Covelli Sr., who died Saturday at his home in Florida.

Covelli, the father of CEO Sam Covelli, owned one of the nation’s largest chains of McDonald’s restaurants. Under his management, Covelli Enterprises transitioned from fast-food hamburgers into the ownership of Panera Bread franchises, then a chain of O’Charley’s restaurants and most recently added Dairy Queen stores.

Covelli served as a lieutenant medical administrative officer during World War II in England, France, & Germany. After his years of service, he started an open-air market in Kenosha, Wis., which he expanded to three locations. Covelli then established a wholesale produce company where he added a distributorship for Snow Corp. Frozen Foods and Sealtest Dairy Co. before moving to Warren. He opened his first McDonald’s in Warren in 1959.

Covelli Enterprises today is the fifth largest restaurant franchisee in the nation with gross sales revenues exceeding $400 million, and employs more than 20,000.

According to a report published in May 2012 by the University of Central Florida, which named Covelli to its Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame, the Albert Covelli Foundation has donated close to $1.3. million to charities and nonprofit organizations. In addition to The Albert Covelli Foundation, Covelli Enterprises donates more than $10 million annually in unsold bread and bakery product to local food banks, hunger relief agencies and community organizations in five states.

A note of condolence is posted on the Covelli Centre website:

The Covelli Centre staff would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the Covelli family for the passing of Mr. Albert Covelli Sr. With any passing, there is a deep sense of loss, and though the community has lost a great pioneer and partner, there is no doubt that the entire Covelli family will continue to honor his memory and legacy through the amazing work they do throughout the Valley. We have lowered our flag to half-mast in observance and respect of this great man.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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