Family Business: A Slice of St. Louis History

  • First Bank
  • 08/15/2022

At First Bank, we celebrate like-minded, family-owned businesses that have survived and thrived through multiple generations of change. Now, in its fourth generation, First Bank has also done just that. 

Whether it’s opening their hearts to help out within the community or providing gainful employment year after year, we salute family-owned business. In fact, family-owned businesses are our nation’s backbone, providing over half of all U.S. jobs. We recognize their grassroots impact on families, communities, and our future. 

One such First Bank client, Imo’s Pizza, is a long-term First Bank client. Credited with offering the first local pizza delivery service, Ed and Margie Imo began their family-owned business journey, opening their first pizza parlor in 1964 in St. Louis, MO. With humble beginnings, the first Imo’s kitchen was comprised of a used oven and a stove they purchased for only $75. They even used an old tackle box as their first cash register. 

Preparing the South St. Louis-style pizza they loved with Provel ® cheese and the infamous thin crust, residents embraced both the delicious pizza as well as the concept of ordering pizza delivery!

Carl Imo, second generation owner, recalls helping out at the family business as a young child. “When everyone else was out celebrating the holiday on New Year’s Eve, our entire family was helping to fill pizza orders,” he said. “We would finish our work, then go back to our home to enjoy our holiday celebration, often eating dinner well after midnight.” Everyone in the Imo’s family worked together, helping it to grow and prosper into the pizza phenomenon it is today. 

At First Bank, we often say no one understands a family business quite like a family business. Carl Imo agrees when he said, “We feel more comfortable doing business with First Bank because they’re a family-owned business.”

Just nine months after opening their first store, they expanded their operations and have never looked back. Needless to say, much has changed for the now multi-generational business. Poised for growth, their operations have grown to include a 72,000 sq.ft. warehouse, a 10,000 sq.ft. office, and their stores are on point to increase to well over 100 into the next year.

“We’ve chosen to do business with First Bank all these years because they can relate to what a family-owned business needs,” said Carl. No matter how you slice it, “First Bank is a vital part of the community and so are we.”