At 9 years old. Tony Rosacci began doing odd jobs in a small Italian corner market in his hometown of Detroit, earning $3 a week. Interrupted only by a call to the U.S. Army. Rosacci has been in the grocery business ever since.
In 1978, he rented an old 7-Eleven and launched his own brick and mortar butcher shop, Tony's Meats, in what is now Centennial. As the market gained a following, he expanded conservatively, but creatively. The operation required all hands on deck, beginning with his wife. Nancy, who noticed that trimmings from the butcher block were going unused and cobbled together a small menu of deli items to avoid unnecessary waste. To complement the deli, the team at Tony's began offering produce, as a matter of convenience, and next the selection grew to include freshly baked goods for customers to indulge.
"Our commitment to quality is unmatched, Papa doesn't want any team member to sell something they wouldn't be proud to serve their mother," says Joey Orrino, Tony's grandson and current vice president of Tony's Meats & Markets and Tony Rosacci's Fine Catering. He also oversees marketing, human resources and legal Orrino earned his law degree at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota years ago and returned to Denver in 2015 to join the family business. He remembers visiting "Papa's store' in Centennial and carrying out groceries with his cousins for $0.25 tips.
That first location--one of four throughout metro Denver today--grew a loyal following. During the holidays, Orrino says an off-duty police officer manned the front door to avoid fire code violations, as customers formed lines that wrapped around the building. The holidays continue to present enormous opportunity for the local retailer. Last year Tony's premade 900 meals for Thanksgiving feasts throughout Denver and the surrounding areas.
The growth of that faithful following led Tony and his family to open a second location at Broadway and Mineral Avenue in Littleton in the mid-'90s. which ultimately moved downtown. Calling it a "destination market," Orrino says customers pass an average of three other grocery stores and travel 10 miles to come to Tony's.
Despite growth and success, Orrino says there have undoubtedly been obstacles his family has overcome: "It was very different back in the '90s.' he says of the 38-year-old company. "Tony's was the place to go if you wanted a quality meal at home. Now the competition is real and its...