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March 22, 2018
#WomensWork Feature: Annamarie Snow
Written by Kate Racculia
Annamarie Snow and her husband, Russ, went for a walk—and saw a for rent sign. They had talked about opening a hot dog shop in the neighborhood for a long time, but this “was an omen,” says Snow. Not long after, Santoro’s Franks & Chili was born. Not your average hot dog shop, Santoro’s provides a warm and friendly environment for friends and families to make special memories. Their menu includes everything from traditional toppings to Asian-inspired flavors, in both vegan and non-vegan options, so everyone can enjoy a meal together.
A former dispatcher for a local trucking company, Snow was looking to make a change. She was good at her job, but she didn’t particularly enjoy it. Starting a business in her fifties, she says, was a huge risk. But with her own experience in management and her husband’s as a classically trained chef, they were confident they could make it work.
Santoro’s is a year and a half old—“we’re past the baby stage,” says Snow. “Now we’re walking!”—and its reputation is growing. “Our little shop draws people from as far away as South Jersey, which always blows my mind,” says Snow. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that we would be known outside of our own neighborhood.” Snow would love to expand once their first location is solid, opening a second place with a larger kitchen and dining area. “I want to be remembered,” she says, “as that crazy little Italian lady who always smiled and made people feel like family.”
It’s important to find and build that community, of friends, family, and business associates. With a location close to downtown, Snow “has had the pleasure” of meeting and working with other local female business owners. “They bring a variety of cultures, experiences, and enthusiasm to our little city,” she says. They all champion community involvement.
“My best advice,” says Snow, “is surround yourself with positive people who raise you up rather than tear you down. Find them, and keep them close in your circle of friends.” Life happens to each and every one of us; it’s important, says Snow, to take the lessons from the bad, be thankful for the good, and keep a grateful heart.
“Dream,” says Snow. “Dream big. Don’t settle for merely existing. The comfort zone might feel really safe, but it’s not where you are meant to be!”