Perhaps nothing has meant more to the present business and civic life of Hawkinsville than the “Invasion of the Greeks,” more appropriately termed, the arrival of the Cabero brothers. Before that time Greeks had occasionally entered the field of business in Hawkinsville only to remain a short while and pass on, soon to be numbered among the forgotten. When the Cabero brothers, Nicholas, Leonidas, and Andrew, arrived, although small boys when they left their native country, they seemed destined to cast their lot in Hawkinsville, soon to become staunch, reliable and substantial citizens. They are now numbered among the leading business men, property owners and taxpayers of the city and county.
Like many other large enterprises, their business began in a small way. In the year 1902, L. Leopold and his nephew, Spero Cabero, both from Greece, opened a small fruit and candy store, to which a small stock of family groceries was added. It was known as the Hawkinsville Fruit and Candy Company. These two men were in charge only a few years.
Upon the death of his daughter, Mrs. Angie Aprea, a beautiful woman of the Greek type, Mr. Leopold left the city, and Spero Cabero returned to his native country. It was the intention of Spero to return to America, but he was required to serve in the Greek army.
In 1907, two of his younger brothers, Nicholas and Leonidas, aged fourteen and twelve, known to all as “Nick and Lee,” came to this country to take charge of the business. Their older brother, Spero, never returned. After serving in the army, he married and settled in his native country.
The two brothers, Nick and Lee, were soon joined by a younger brother, Andrew, who was then only eleven years of age. Knowing nothing of American ways and very little of the English language, these boys, in spite of various handicaps, soon adapted themselves to their new surroundings. Being possessed of unusual intelligence and keen perception, they soon learned business conditions, and how to deal with the public. Their business is now one of the largest in the city. It has the same name and occupies the same building as when it had its modest beginning.
While a Greek enterprise would hardly be complete without a cafe, the Cabero brothers opened a cafe in another section of the city. A cousin, Freeman Cabero, thirteen years of age, came from Greece to assist in this business. So successful was this enterprise that it outgrew its small quarters.
At this time the Cabero brothers began to invest in real estate. They first purchased the two-story building where their grocery business was located. Then, seeing a future for their cafe, they erected an office building, with front of plate glass, white tile and granite. This is one of the most attractive buildings in the city. The first floor has a modern and up-to-date cafe known as Nick’s Cafe. It is located on the paved highway, and while it has been noted for its banquets and other events of importance, it also gives service to tourists from many states. Another cafe, under the same name and management, is located in Perry, Ga. Mr. Freeman Cabero is in charge there.
The Cabero brothers are not only owners of valuable property in the city, but are extensive landowners, which include some of the most valuable plantations in the county. Their latest real estate deal was the purchase of the Brown Hotel, one of the largest hotels in the city. When the hotel was opened the new owners were hosts to the entire population of Hawkinsville with a large barbecue.
While the Cabero brothers are shrewd in business, they are men of fine character and high principles, always upright and honest in all their dealings, and always ready to lend their assistance and contribute generously to anything pertaining to the welfare of the community. Mr. Nicholas Cabero has served as president of the local Chamber of Commerce, and also as president of the Pulaski Fair Association.
These men are members of a well-known family of Patras, Greece. Their father was George Cabero, a priest of the Orthodox Greek Church, and their mother is Mrs. Mary Pope Cabero. Mr. Lee Cabero married Miss Mary Hearn. They have two sons, George and Nicholas, aged six and two. Ml. Andrew Cabero married Miss Inez Horne. They have one son, Andrew, Jr., aged two. Mr. Freeman Cabero married Miss Edith Harvard. Mr. Nicholas Cabero remains a bachelor.
While the Cabero brothers make frequent visits to their relatives in Greece, their interests are in Hawkinsville and Pulaski County, where they probably intend to spend the remainder of their lives.