Growing up Rosacci style
By Kathy Fallert; photo by Terri Wiebold and courtesy of the Rosacci family
Daniel Rosacci, the 55-year-old CEO and president of Tony’s Meats & Market (Tony’s), has had only one job in his entire life. Starting as a 13-year-old seventh grader at Isaac Newton Junior High School in Littleton (now Centennial), he would ride his bicycle to work after school and work on weekends. Back then it was just his dad, Tony Rosacci, along with his mother and siblings working at their original Dry Creek location in Centennial. Daniel worked at the starting rate of $1 an hour.
Daniel, the youngest of four kids, reflected, “Heck, I was the only kid in school earning 20 to 30 bucks a week! I washed the band saw and grinder, cleaned the coolers, did dishes, swept the floor and cleaned the sawdust under the swinging beef. Soon afterward, I was wrapping locker beef and learning the beef cuts. By the time I was 18 years old, I graduated from Arapahoe High School with a high school diploma and I was already a journeyman meat cutter. The day after I graduated, I went to full time as a journeyman cutter and have never looked back since.”
Daniel now has five kids of his own. Of his three grown daughters, the oldest Anna works as Tony’s grocery buyer and started her career at the young age of 5. Second daughter, Nina, was a U.S. Army medic and served 13 months in Afghanistan right on the front lines. She is now a registered nurse. Third daughter, Olivia, just had her second child in January, making a total of six grandkids (and one on the way) for Daniel – ranging in age from 14 years old to the newest infant.
“I would bring my three girls to the store often,” Daniel recalled. “They in a sense grew up there. Their first job, only for an hour or two every Mother’s Day, my girls would hand roses to all the moms and grandmothers. They were quite popular with all the moms and grandmas!”
Now married to his second wife Suvda, originally from Mongolia, Daniel gets support behind the scenes as Suvda assists in keeping Daniel scheduled properly and keeping him organized. Suvda is also a yoga teacher, full-time mom and has recently gone back to school to attain her nursing degree. Daniel and Suvda live in Larkspur with their two youngest children Alec (20) who currently attends Metro State University in Denver with a major in business/finance and Amalie (15) who is an honor student at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch. Alec currently works at Tony’s as a meat cutter/butcher and has expressed an interest in staying with Tony’s with a career in their family business.
Tony’s has been a family business since 1978. Originally Daniel’s father’s dream, his parents sold their family home to finance their first store. Daniel remarked, “My father Tony, now 79, still enjoys visiting the stores on Saturdays to visit with our customers and team members. He lives part time in Arizona and part time here in Colorado. He’s not only been a great father and teacher, he has been a great business partner and my best friend. I still talk to him four to five times per week. He is always there for me if I ever need to bounce ideas off him, vent a little, or just talk hockey.” Daniel’s two older brothers and older sister have all worked for Tony’s over the years but have since left the business. So, it’s now down to just Daniel and Tony as the two owners.
Daniel commented, “My family has worked hard for many years. The food business is an intense business. We not only have to be a brick and mortar retailer, but we are also meat experts, butchers, chefs, bakers, baristas, fish mongers, cheese and salami professionals and more. A work week of 60 to 80 hours for many years was the norm. Thankfully, in the past decade or so, we’ve been able to scale that back to a more normal work week. But as an owner, you can never turn it off; the mind never stops. It is now just who I am. There is really no difference in work time and personal time. They are so intermingled; there is no difference. But I truly love the meat and food industry.”
For hobbies, Daniel is an avid woodworker. He built a workshop at his small cabin in the mountains. “When I am not at work, chances are I am at our mountain cabin with our dogs Ella and Rosie in my self-built workshop. My phone does not work there; so, that is my haven.” In his 40 years of woodworking, Daniel has made numerous pieces of furniture, jewelry boxes, canoes, artwork, and even toys for his grandkids.
Daniel also loves the sport of hockey. He played from the age of 6 until finally hanging up his skates around the age of 45 from the old-man league. He is an avid fan of the Colorado Avalanche. “I rarely miss a game, and I am not very happy if I do,” he quipped.
Another source of relaxation for Daniel is his 2014 Honda Valkyrie motorcycle. “I love riding my motorcycle on a beautiful sunny Colorado day. I often tell my wife, ‘honey, I’m going to get some asphalt therapy.’ I take the beautiful Highway 105 and enjoy our wonderful Colorado roads and scenery, circling back in an hour or two, refreshed and stress free.”
Concluding, Daniel stated, “We live this business 24/7. Going on vacation, I am always at the local markets looking and learning, tasting and enjoying. We rarely go out to dinner because both my wife and I love to cook so much. Owning a market I have all the greatest ingredients in the world right at my fingertips. Many of our recipes and private label products have come right out of our home kitchen recipes. One thing we do to stay cutting edge and competitive at Tony’s is to always remember what got us here to begin with: We are meat people. It’s in our blood!”