The Burke Heel Factory was at the present-day site of the Ipswich Ale Brewery
Burke Heel Factory fire
The Burke & Son heel factory at Brown Square burned on June 19, 1933. The brick addition to the Burke Shoe Heel Factory survived the fire, and is today the Ipswich Ale Brewery.
Buildings nearby in Brown Square were scorched by the fire, but are still standing

Thomas, George, Stephen and Peter Soffron and their sister Virginia were the children of a couple who moved from Greece to Ipswich, to work in the mills.  The four brothers, Tom, George, Pete and Steve opened a clam shucking operation  in the former Burke Heel factory. Saffron Brothers were the exclusive suppliers of clams to the Howard Johnson chain for 32 years, which featured Ipswich Fried Clams on the menu.

Employees shucking clams at Soffron Bros

In 1966 Howard Johnson’s ended its 32-year contract with the Soffron Brothers.  After a year of re-grouping, the brothers re-opened the business, supplying fresh, frozen and canned clam products for the wholesale market from the Ipswich facility. Soffron Brothers continued in business into the 1990’s spanning three generations of family ownership.