Sam Spina Importing Co. Inc. is a blossoming company whose roots are embedded in the Spina family history beginning with Sam Spina' s immigration to Birmingham, Alabama from Palermo, San Guiseppe Jato, Sicily at the turn of the 19th Century. Young Sam came to America at the age of 18 with $8.00 in his pocket. After finding his way through Ellis Island in New York City, he settled in Margaret, Alabama where he found work in the coal mines of Alabama. It didn't take long for Sam to recognize the opportunities available to him in the United States. After a move to Ensley, Alabama in West Birmingham, he returned to Sicily and brought his bride Mary Vaccaro back to his new home in the Birmingham area. He opened Sam Spina Importing Co. on Morris Avenue around 1907, importing dry goods and olive oil from the "old country" for resale to small mom and pop grocery stores.
In 1939, Sam Spina purchased the building at 2205 Morris Ave. in Birmingham, Alabama. He was later issued a building permit in 1942 for the refurbishing and remodeling of the brick warehouse. Sam Spina Importing Co., a wholesale grocery supplier of dry goods, occupied the space at 2201 Morris Ave. until 1963. The historic warehouse still remains today and is home to a law office in Birmingham, Alabama.
After Sam's death in 1950, the business continued under the ownership of Sams two sons, Paul A. Spina and Dominic Spina, and continued to provide products to
Grocery stores well into the early 1960s. The brothers ultimately "closed shop" when the bigger companies put the little man out of business.
Fast forward to 2011, Tommy Spina, grandson of Sam and son of Paul, and his wife Johnnie reconnected with Tommy’s roots in Sicily and formed new relationships with his cousins abroad. After a dinner with the family one night, Tommy's cousin Marco Spina suggested that Tommy and Johnnie consider importing little known Sicilian Wines and share the varietals peculiar to Sicily with the United States. Thanks to our Sicilian team; Marco Spina, Alessandro Lo Re, Enrico Napoli, and Ornella Spina, and our Birmingham team including Tommy, Johnnie and Emma Spina The new Sam Spina Importing Co., Inc which operates out of Birmingham , Alabama and Palermo, Sicily, was formed.
Meetings began to take place in Alabama and after a two year work effort in both Birmingham and Sicily ,Sam Spina Importing Co.,Inc. partnered with International Wine, a wine distributor in Birmingham, Alabama. The Company launched its first two products, in conjunction with Caruso and Minini Winery, located in the Marsala Region of Sicily. The two products were Tasari Nero D' Avola and Tasari Grillo. More products were added from Caruso and Cantine Madaudo, in the Mount Etna region, and now 6 wines are offered for sale. With the excellent family efforts of all, the future is filled with growth and excitement.
Soon, we expect more Sicilian varietals to follow and we will continue to expand our portfolio with additional tastes of history.