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HICKSVILLE, N.Y. -- Vincent Gruppuso, the founder of popular dessert maker Kozy Shack here, died Dec. 29 at age 67 due to complications from diabetes.
Grupposo started the company more than 40 years ago, and had continued to be involved in running the company along with his family.
Last year, with an eye to the future, he chose Robert Striano to serve as president and c.e.o. of Kozy Shack Enterprises, Inc., to run the day-to-day operations of the business and spearhead the growth of Kozy Shack into the next decade.
Under Striano's leadership, the company said, it has expanded its market share to 29 percent of the refrigerated pudding category; and has successfully introduced several new pudding varieties, including the Limited Edition Pumpkin pudding.
"From his humble beginnings as a bread delivery man who first tasted the homemade rice pudding at the Cozy Shack Deli in Brooklyn, to the entrepreneur who made Kozy Shack Rice Pudding into the No. 1 selling rice pudding in the U.S. and Canada, our father built a company that employs more than 400 people in three facilities, Hicksville, N.Y., Turlock, Calif., and Lough Egish, Ireland," said the company in a statement. "His devotion to the brand saw the products grow from the signature rice pudding to a full line of puddings, flans, and frozen pastry desserts every family can enjoy at home, just as we do."