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One Sunday morning in June 1978, Tony was driving to church with his family when he passed a closed-down 7-Eleven on Dry Creek Road. His son Danny, then 11 years old, said, “Hey! That would be a good place to open a meat shop.” The next day, Tony signed a lease and started what was to become one of the most popular markets in town.

He opened the store with three employees, all family members, and today has 260 employees and a second store. The other Tony’s Meats is on Broadway in the Southbridge Shopping Center. The day we spoke, he had just signed the agreement to open a third store in Lakewood by Southwest Plaza. He is working with architects on the designs and hopes to open by October/November.

Philanthropic interests: Cindy has volunteered for four years with The Adoption Exchange

Favorite item in closet:  Homer Reed & Andrisen Morton

Saturdays are likely to find him in:  I work every Saturday so you can find me at Tony’s. On Sunday’s I’m on the golf course.

Interests:  Golf, Golf and more Golf. I’m a member at Valley Country Club and play about twice a week. I also love good pasta and good wine.

Favorite Denver restaurants:  Vasil’s, Three Son’s Italian Restaurant in North Denver and Potager at 11th and Ogden.

Favorite book:  My all-time favorite book is “Cold Sassy Tree” by Olive Ann Burns. I love this book and have read it several times, which I never do. I like it so much; I've given it as gifts to many people.

Also, the books “Ernie’s America” and “Ernie’s War,” by Ernie Pyle, are excellent. He wrote a daily column and it’s a composite of his columns. He spent the 1930’s and 1940’s traveling around and living with people of all walks of life and wrote about it. It is just fascinating.

Favorite quote:  Our motto at Tony’s is Superior Quality, Superior Service, and Constant Innovation.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Junk food?
Italian food -- especially pasta with red sauce. I’m a cookie freak and I like ice cream.

What food can’t you live without?
Pasta!

Where do you go in your home to feel completely relaxed and just think?
I love my house and like to move around and enjoy all the rooms.

If money and time were no object, what dream project would you do.
I would build my own shopping center and have an open-air Tony’s market. The rest of the center would be specialty shops.

What tool have you purchased that you’ve never used?
A cheese grater. The one thing I use a lot is Look Cookware and Forchner knives.

What one word describes you best?
Workaholic

What word would you like others to use to describe you?
Integrity

If your life were a movie, who would play your part?
Robert DeNiro

Who is your hero? Why?
My grandfather. He was unpretentious and hard-working. He came to the United States from Sicily and couldn’t read or write. Everyday after working at The Ford Motor Company as a janitor, he would build homes. It took 10 years to build the house he finally moved into with his wife and seven children.

What is your pet peeve?
I hate to see a person with a lot of potential waste it. I can’t stand to see someone who is given a gift and they don’t utilize it.

Where can you be found at midnight?
In bed. I’m not a night owl.

What was your first job?
I’ve been in this business since the age of 9. I worked at an Italian market. For .86 cents an hour I delivered groceries. Then I was offered an opportunity to work at the meat counter for $1.36 an hour.

What would you do if you were king of the world?
I would be really hard on the drug people and banish all weapons.

What word or expression do you use too much?
I say everything changes, nothing stays the same, and we’ve got to make it better.

If there were one thing you would change about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to be a little taller. Maybe 6 feet. It would have been nice to have a formal education.

What is your greatest indulgence?
Food and wine. I like Chianti and Pinot Noir wines.

Best gift you ever gave?
I put a good furnace and air conditioner in my mother’s house in Michigan.

If you could have a no-holds barred shopping spree, where would you go?
I would like to take a month long vacation in Europe.

What is one thing nobody knows about you?
I get seasick very easily.

Which social event is your favorite?
The Western Fantasy Ball for The Volunteers of America

If you could be something other than what you are, what would you be?
I would like to play baseball for a living. Preferably at the shortstop position.

What is a favorite childhood memory?
My mother always had to work so my grandmother raised me. Everyday I would go to her house for lunch and after school until my mother got home from work. She was a fabulous cook and made pasta and bread fresh everyday. She could take garbage and make it taste good.

Who is the most interesting celebrity you ever met?
I played golf with Marc Crawford and really enjoyed it. He is not pretentious at all. What you see is what you get. Johnny Bench plays in a golf tournament every year and comes into the store. He is a very nice, gracious person.

What makes you laugh?
I laugh at myself.

What is your favorite item of clothing in your closet?
I have a favorite Greg Norman golf shirt I like to wear.

What do you consider your proudest achievement?
In 1991, I won the Small Business Man of the Year award for Colorado and was invited to The White House with all of the other state winners. We had a ceremony in The Rose Garden and met President George Bush.

What is your greatest regret?
For many years, I worked 60-70 hours a week and wish I had been a better father and spent more time with my kids.

What is your personal motto?
Be happy and don’t hurt anyone.
(there is a sign hanging in the conference room at Tony’s that reads: The bitterness of low quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

What might your epitaph read?
He was a person with integrity, had fun and was a good friend.

What is the best advice your Mom/Dad ever gave you?
It wasn’t so much words but the way my grandfather lived his life. I learned that hard work opens doors.

 

Favorite Restaurant? Vasil’s, Three Son’s Italian Restaurant in North Denver and Potager at 11th and Ogden.

Saturday night at midnight is most likely to find you? I work every Saturday so you can find me at Tony’s. On Sunday’s I’m on the golf course.

Favorite books / Writers? My all-time favorite book is “Cold Sassy Tree” by Olive Ann Burns. I love this book and have read it several times, which I never do. I like it so much; I've given it as gifts to many people.

Also, the books “Ernie’s America” and “Ernie’s War,” by Ernie Pyle, are excellent. He wrote a daily column and it’s a composite of his columns. He spent the 1930’s and 1940’s traveling around and living with people of all walks of life and wrote about it. It is just fascinating.

What is your motto? Our motto at Tony’s is Superior Quality, Superior Service, and Constant Innovation.

I recently met Avie from your catering business, and she toured our facility (I'm the manager). She didn't know to tell me that the Rosacci's are from Detroit. I too am from Michigan, from Rochester...my Dad worked for Fisher Body. It was nice to read your bio, and your understanding of hard work, and service. I hope I get to meet you sometime.
Betty Ronan
08-Feb-06


Wow....I lived behind you or would it be in front of you...no , our backyards matched up!! Anyway, had I known you were a golfer...but then you probably still work all the time...but I too love the game...however, thanks for your hard work & great store..your efforts have made many, many people very HAPPY in this community
Roselyn Saunders
21-Aug-04