The history of Jim’s guys and gals is interlaced with family, in-laws, friends and neighborhood connections. Contributing to the quality and consistency of the service and products at Jim’s is the unique makeup of the young men and women who have interned and learned what it takes to make a great sandwich. They represent a number of family generations, and manage to balance their work without compromising their formal education. All members of the family saw action in the store: Jim, who started it in 1927, and his wife Melanie, sons Al, Gus and Syl, daughter Juliette, grand nephews Greg and Brian Homoki, and now great grand nephew Frank Homoki.
Al Damianos will be remembered as the heart and soul of Jim’s. He continued to manage, greet customers and tell jokes, until he passed away on September 28, 2017 at the age of 97. After a well-rounded career as a pool shark, a great dancer, WW2 serviceman in the US Air Force (stationed in London); a job stint in Alice, Texas; paying his dues in the steel mill, working for a glass company and selling insurance, he somewhat reluctantly joined his father fulltime at Jim’s in 1953 and took over in 1959 when Jim passed away. He managed to keep everyone hopping and supplied them with an incredible foray of jokes.
Syl Damianos was always a part of the store history and has returned to pick up where Al left off. As a grade school youngster in McKeesport, he washed dishes when he could reach the sink and enthusiastically assisted in making ice cream with his dad. He ran the West Mifflin store every day after school while his father napped. Looking for ways to enhance his daily meals, he created the Cheese Dog. An honors graduate from CMU and a Fulbright Scholar in The Netherlands, he served in the army and practiced architecture for over 60 years. He was national president of The American Institute of Architects. Now overseeing Jim’s, he also creates sculpture and furniture.
The late Gus Damianos and Brian Homoki, were both instrumental in maintaining the family business. Gus had a great job as a crane operator in the National Tube mill and joined Al in the store following Jim’s passing. Gus also was a fine commercial artist. Brian, started at Jim’s in the early 70’s with a dream to stay forever and be joined later by his son, Frank. Unfortunately, both Gus and Brian lost the battle of life at early ages. We miss them very much.
Mike Bosway, always an important leader in the store, was named Manager in 2018. He has considered “Jim’s crew” to be his family since the late 1990s. A graduate of West Mifflin High School, Mike furthered his education at Penn State University. Mike goes for the Cheeseburger with Jim’s Famous Sauce, onions and pickles. When asked what has kept him on the job for so long, he offered, “The work environment is great! I enjoy the other ‘guys,’ and I rather liked Al’s jokes.”
Shawn Hone is also an Assistant Manager. He started working during his senior year of high school in 2012 and is a dedicated worker who takes pride in his work (really enjoys cooking). His favorite sandwich is the Cheeseburger with sauce, onions, and pickle.