We had the good fortune of connecting with Avie Rosacci and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Avie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Many people call me impulsive, but impulsivity does lead to new experiences. Sometimes if you think too much about something, you can simply talk yourself out of it. Some of my biggest successes and joys can be considered impulsive to most. They say impulsive behavior is also a symptom of ADHD, which some believe I have, but I embrace my ism’s and use my brain and balance my risk factors, but am not afraid to take risk. What does impulsive mean to me? If I see something that is scary and exciting, that is impulsive. I don’t jump off cliffs or try to outrun a train, but I did learn to scuba dive on a whim while on a trip to Cozumel. I simply signed up while shaking for a discover scuba class. I was terrified before and after, I even panicked and failed my first test in the ocean. Now I am more calm at 100 feet below the surface of the ocean than I am anywhere on land. In business, my family thought I was impulsive when I suggested opening a catering company within our business (Tony’s Meats & Markets) even though I had no experience in catering. The company was losing big bucks in one of our divisions and I was moved into that division to “fix the problem”. I had a kitchen and trucks and chefs, so opening a catering company was the only way out. What did I do? I ignored the naysayers in my family and executive team, got the support of just one person, my father Tony. I then hired 2 people that knew the off-premise catering industry and learned from them as I went out and started selling. My employees were my mentors! Yes I made mistakes. Yes, I learned from them. No, I did not repeat them. I even landed The Denver Broncos nutrition program for 11 seasons after just 4 months in business. Was I nervous bidding on such a large project, Yes! Did I even know how to bid on this type of contract, NO.! Did I do it anyway, YES! Did I ultimately succeed, definitely! I will tell you one thing, we got our butt kicked on overtime for training camp because I have never seem any group of people eat so much food. Thank goodness I was able to renegotiate before the rest of the season and corrected my mistakes, and had a great 11 seasons working with such an elite group of athletes. Something I have never done before. We went on to feed the Colorado Avalanche as well. Some people now think I am impulsive for selling my shares of my families business, a proven 40-year very successful specialty food business in Colorado, and going for a simpler yet challenging business. My husband and I are living our passion and making and selling the spice blends we have created. We jumped in on-line, quickly moved to corporate gifts and farmers markets and are now making the necessary changes to well at the wholesale level, so people can find our small batch seasonings in their local markets. I do plan on selling nationally in time. Without impulse, I would have never barrel raced horses starting at 40 years old. I would have never met my husband, who is my very best friend. I would not have my children, I married young and had them young and when I could not afford it. I would not change them for anything. I would never have learned to dive. I would never learned to be a beekeeper, even though I got stung 26 times when I set up my first hive (OUCH!). I would never committed to do many things I was not sure I could do, but know if anyone could, it was me. Impulsiveness is one of the qualities I like most about me. It has opened doors that careful thinking and planning would not have opened.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Happy Jack Spice Company is a small Colorado spice blend company that specializes in full-flavor seasoning blends for smoking, grilling and roasting meat and seafood as well as incredible veggies and family favorite meals, Heck, one of our blends make killer taco’s and Bloody Mary’s. What sets us apart is our creativity and the fact that our blends have what we call “depth of flavor”. We only use top notch, responsibly sourced ingredients. Delicious food is made from REAL ingredients. No fillers or artificial anything. We don’t mess with what nature created. We also teach people how to use each and every blend multiple ways. There should be no seasoning in your cabinet that is only good for one thing. We continue to expand our recipe page to grow our customers ability to be creative. It has not been easy learning how to bottle, label, become FDA compliant etc. but setting your mind to it, making some quiet time on your schedule to simply think and do. You don’t need to have 100 things on your list daily, just 1 or a few. More is not better. Time to think is better. You can either allow it to control you or you can control it. I often have to stop when I feel stressed and check myself. Is it really stress created by the outside or am I creating my own stressful situation. Typically it is me. Either by procrastination or thought. Once I check myself and reset, I can continue with better results. I also shut down my technology at 7:00 pm and go to be between 8:30 and 9:00 pm nightly, when our body is naturally producing the hormones to go to sleep. Why fight nature. To get to this point in my life where a small business like making and selling spice would be fulfilling was a long haul. Through 38 years of high stress environment of foodservice, my health took a big hit. I was in complete metabolic syndrome at 50 years old which included severe anxiety, panic attacks, insulin resistance, leptin resistance and crazy allergies all of a sudden presenting themselves. I had to make the tough decision to sell my shares of the family business or continue to plummet healthwise. My physican said “you are close to a heart related event and you need to make change immediately”. After that warning, I signed up for Nutrition Therapy school as I needed to understand what was happening to my body. The conventional medicine doctors just kept giving me pills, and I was getting worse and worse. Within 5 years, I graduated with a masters certification nutrition, sold my shares at Tony’s Meats & Market and started living completely differently. I opened a nutrition coaching business, but that was not fulfilling to me so I closed it and went back to the food business I am passionate about. Now merging my butcher shop, catering, specialty food and nutrition background and creating amazing flavors and foods for the world to enjoy while bringing myself back to a state of health and ultimately saving my own life. Lesson: Work and live with a passion, but don’t forget to put yourself somewhere near the top of the priority list rather than the bottom. We want to help others enjoy cooking and grilling as a hobby. We also want people to cook easy yet flavorful meals after a hard days work with real ingredients. Family and friend gatherings are made complete with food, so why not make it intensely nutritious and delicious. Don’t let the word nutritious scare you. The best flavors are real flavors, not those created in a lab, which will very likely someday — if not already — affect your health.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We love sharing our little spot of heaven right here in Colorado with our friends and family. We have a pontoon we keep on Lake Granby in our beautiful Rocky Mountains and we can hang out all day on the lake with our friends and family. Lot of osprey and bald eagles, as well as trout and mackinaw fish for. We even got to host the great Alan Parsons from The Alan Parsons Project on our boat for a day, as my brother owns a recording studio in Winter Park and they came out for an outing one Saturday. That was a day I will always remember. If you are a musician, you must visit Eagle Wind Sound – a destination professional recording studio. We love gathering in the evening at Granby Ranch Grill for great wine and a view of the ski slope, where mountain bikers come barreling down. The other favorite is Granby Garage, just as you pull into Granby. We love their margaritas but with a double shot of tequila. One is plenty! If you have more time while in the area, continue past Lake Granby and visit the quaint town of Grand Lake and continue even further to visit Rocky Mountain National Park and travel above timberline and see large herds of Colorado’s famous elk. Gorgeous beasts. If you are lucky, you might see a moose. But be smart, stay in your car and don’t approach. They are wild animals and can hurt you!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My father, Tony Rosacci. I totally take after him as he too was told he would not be successful or could not do it. My Dad was a butcher at Kings Soopers who always wanted his own butcher shop. After driving by a closed 7-11 in Littleton, Colorado, he decided that was the location and the time was now. After being told by the bank that they did not qualify for a small business loan, he and my Mom sold their house in 1978 and took the cash from the sale of the house (which was all the money they had) and signed a lease to open the first Tony’s Meats & Market. Now 40 years later, with 3 locations and about 200 employees, it is a local landmark where families start their family meal traditions. The naysayers have been silenced!
Instagram: IG Happy Jack https://www.instagram.com/happyjacksizzles/