We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul Knaysi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paul, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
For the first 12 years we were open, it was all work. I did get to spend time with my kids, but work was always present and I was always on call. We started to build our own house, and that’s when I was able to step away a bit. It was good for me and my employees to have me step back. They were able to participate more in decision making, and I was able to let go of the reins a bit and allow myself to trust them. After we finished the house, I picked up my work load, but it became clear that I was too busy with my kids’ lives to be totally effective at work. Plus I enjoyed not being tied to the business so much. So, we hired a general manager, which had it’s own challenges, but for awhile, was a good move.
When COVID hit, there were new challenges, and some of them were fueled by resentment from long term employees that I was not in the store as much, on the front lines. Over time, many of those employees moved on with the great resignation, and we have some great positive employees now and I work in the store around 20 hours a week, plus a lot at home. I have removed the gm position and divided up those responsibilities between other employees and myself. I love not being at the store all the time and I am lucky I have such an amazing team.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
We have always tried to be creative in our business. Whether it’s menu choices that are different, to naming pizzas to the decor and how we treat our employees. Our business was inspired by Pablo Picasso, as he was revolutionary in how he approached art. We felt like everything we did should be looked at from multiple perspectives and to not simply copy what everyone else has done. Sometimes customers get frustrated because they expect us to have the same thing that every other pizza restaurant offers, but that’s not interesting to us.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would explore the Colorado national monument, hike, mountain bike, visit wineries, float the river, and eat local. We have wonderful restaurants and lots of new breweries opening downtown. Our Main street is about the cutest street ever! I might take a day trip to Telluride but there is a ton of fun stuff locally. Although it can be a bit hot in the summer….
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife, Kaci, gets a huge shout-out. She has always supported my dreams and although co-owning a business brings challenges, we have worked together to keep it successful. She is great at stepping back and giving me feedback and advice, but letting me know that she trusts the decisions I may make.