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Frank Orloski, founder of convenience store chain, remembered for business skill and generosity

The Citizens' Voice - 1/5/2021

Jan. 5—Frank Orloski, who grew his Orloski's Quik Mart business from a single store in Wilkes-Barre to a chain of 43 locations in Northeast Pennsylvania, is being remembered as a visionary businessman and generous philanthropist.

Orloski, a longtime resident of Fairview Twp., died on Friday. He was 88.

An Army veteran of the Korean War, Orloski returned home and founded a service station at Blackman and Hazle streets in Wilkes-Barre in 1969. He grew the business into 43 gas stations and convenience stores in several local counties.

In February 2000, Orloski sold the chain to the publicly traded company Uni-Mart for $41 million.

"He was a local boy who made good. He never forgot where he came from. He was a coal miner's son. It was an American dream type thing," Orloski's son, Jerry, said.

Jerry Orloski said he, his three brothers, two sisters and their mother all worked for the business.

"It truly was a family business. We worked very well together. We had quite a few key employees who were just like family as well," Jerry Orloski said.

At its height, Orloski's Quik Mart employed more than 700 people in Northeast and Central Pennsylvania.

In retirement, Frank Orloski loved adoring his 19 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, always looking forward to their sporting events, his son said.

Frank Orloski generously gave back to the community, belonging to many charitable groups in Mountain Top. He was a big supporter of the Mountain Top Little League, having a field named after him. He was the longtime sponsor of the Mountain Top Fourth of July fireworks display.

Oftentimes, he did good deeds without telling anyone, said real estate broker David Hourigan, a longtime Orloski family friend.

"Frank was a wonderful, kind person, caring about his family and community in so many ways. He was an example to so many people for his ethics in business and life. He was a huge part of the Mountain Top community," Hourigan said. "He started from very humbling beginnings. He built a business and was highly respected."

Attorney Robert Gillespie, who was Orloski's longtime business and personal lawyer, said Orloski was "one of the most generous guys you could ever meet." The men and their wives regularly met for dinner for decades.

At Christmas, Frank Orloski and his wife, Adeline, would take a busload of kids shopping for toys and presents, Gillespie recalled.

"There was no fanfare. They did it because the kids needed toys," Gillespie said.

Orloski loved Northeast Pennsylvania, Gillespie said.

"He was tremendously successful but never forgot where he came from, He was truly an all-around American success story. He started from the bottom and went to the top," Gillespie said. "He was Mr. Wilkes-Barre. He took pride in Luzerne County. He took pride in his hometown of Ashley. He loved the small-town atmosphere."

Contact the writer:

570-821-2055; @cvbobkal


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