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Clam King
By Nina Sovich

(FORTUNE Small Business) – Like many famous Greeks, and not a few New Englanders, Thomas Soffron found his fortune at sea. An immigrant from Calamata, Greece, Soffron invented clam strips: battered and fried slices from the "foot" of hard-shelled sea clams (which held up better when frozen than did the coastal variety). For years Soffron Brothers Clam Co., based in Ipswich, Mass., served as the exclusive supplier of clam strips to the Howard Johnson's restaurant chain, which sold the whole country on this Down East delicacy. Few HoJo's are left, but the clam strip's enduring popularity stands as its creator's legacy. Soffron died on Feb. 21 at age 96 in Ipswich, his hometown. --N.S.