For the Angelini family, business runs in their blood. Since the family arrived in Half Moon Bay a century ago, they have run a grocery store on Main Street, the current insurance business, and numerous startups along the way. This year, they are celebrating 100 years of living and working in the Half Moon Bay community.
The Angelini family immigrated to the West Coast from San Concordio, Lucca, in Italy starting in the 1890s. By 1920, they arrived in Half Moon Bay, coming via the Ocean Shore Railroad from San Francisco. The family has lived here ever since, attending school and working in town. Joe Angelini, among the third generation
of Angelinis in Half Moon
Bay, met his wife at Cunha Intermediate School in seventh grade.
“We’ve been around for a while,” Angelini said. “When my grandparents came, there were dirt streets. There was no pavement. There were no sidewalks.”
Today, Angelini runs the branch of Farmers Insurance in town with his daughter, Brianne Phillips. They said knowing the community and its history makes their job easier because clients see their family as experts on the community and trust them as a result.
“That’s our whole focus in this business, creating relationships with our clients,” Angelini said. “They’re a part of our family.”
Prior to getting into the insurance business, Angelini said the family ran a grocery store on Main Street. He said his family’s store was one of only two in town at the time, but was driven out of business.
“There just wasn’t room for two small stores in town,” Angelini said. “So (my father) went into the insurance business.”
Meanwhile, his father’s siblings taught at Cunha, back when it was the site of the town’s high school. He remembers hearing stories about the days when Half Moon Bay
was a bootlegging town, and a tunnel even ran under Main Street.
The last century hasn’t been without its challenges. Angelini said staffing has always been a problem because the community is so small, both with his current insurance business and with past family businesses on Main Street. Today, the cost of living is an issue.
“It’s been tough at times,” Angelini said. “But celebrating 100 years in a community is a huge milestone.”
After Phillips left this
tight-knit community to live in San Luis Obispo for two years, she said she’d never leave
“Moving away for those two years was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done because I didn’t have the natural protection of knowing everybody,” Phillips said. “It was definitely a culture shock and one of the reasons I moved back.”
Looking to the future, Angelini said the family is here to stay. He values being involved in the community as a businessman and as a community member. He and Phillips both said clients will often call them up and ask for help navigating other aspects of life in Half Moon Bay, and they welcome it.
“The roots are buried pretty deep here,” Angelini said. “We can’t go somewhere else and make the impact we make here.”