The DeFazios – A 67 Year Partnership

For over 10 years, Jim and I have lived and worked out of a home office. Our last place was a 100-year old Victorian in Eureka, CA, with two separate flats; one for home, one for work. We were like old timey shopkeepers, living above the business. Now we live and work out of our 200 sq. ft. trailer. People often asked us, “Don’t you guys drive each other nuts? How do you stand it?”

That was easy. The perks of never having to get a real job and doing a freeway commute every day, always outweighed the challenge of putting up with each other’s idiosyncrasies on a daily basis.

While in Troy, New York, we met another married business couple. Only they have a really, really long history together. And a special secret to getting along…

The couple owns DeFazio’s Imports Grocery Store, and DeFazio’s Wood Fired Pizza Restaurant. This amazing couple has been married 67 years! They met in the 1940’s, when they lived across the street from one another. In 1955, they opened an Italian Market downstairs from their residence, and about 10 years ago, they opened the restaurant, right next door.

All these years later, the couple still lives upstairs, overseeing all of the cooking and management of their store, while their family takes care of daily operations. DeFazio’s serves up kick butt pizza, made with the best organic whole wheat crust we’ve ever tried.

One morning, we stopped by to talk to Mrs. DeFazio. I wanted to learn more about their secrets to running a successful business, while staying happily married.

“Only look at your husband . . . and keep your mouth shut,” she said. If you fight, forget about it and move on.

Her secret to running a great business: “Always do your best.”

Mrs. DeFazio asked us why we wanted to take a picture of an old lady like her. We couldn’t resist; her sage wisdom is priceless.

It’s a challenge to hear her voice on this clip, because she has a soft voice, and the refrigeration unit in the store was really loud. But it’s worth staying tuned in through the static, so pay attention!

12 thoughts on “The DeFazios – A 67 Year Partnership”

  1. We are very saddened to report that Josie DeFazio recently passed away, and just want to share a little bit of the beautiful eulogy her grandson gave at her funeral …

    Mother Teresa once said

    “It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing.
    It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.”

    Josephine DeFazio put more love into what she did and gave to us than we could ever imagine. She loved working with her husband, sons, and grandchildren everyday and making food for her friends. Josie did not have customers, she only had family and friends. Josie considered every person who walked through that door on 4th street a friend or part of her family…

    Our deepest condolences to the DeFazio’s, and their entire extended family.

    • I am so sorry Josie is not around anymore! DeFazio’s is the best Italian restaurant around. I only wish it was a little bigger to handle it’s popularity!

  2. Wow! What a genuine lady. I love the fact that she and her husband work and live together for all these years. And I need to follow her advice more and “keep my mouth shut” (lol). Great video. Thanks for sharing.
    We’re not heading to NY this year on our trip, but Dan’s family is from upstate NY (Ithaca). We’ll have to check out DeFazio’s the next time we head up there to visit.

  3. I moved back to Troy, from Michigan, and was searching for an authentic New York style pizza and was delighted to find DeFazio’s. It’s everything you’d expect from a great pizza, the wood oven taste and absolutely yummy tomato sauce. I love the quaint restaurant and the openness of the kitchen area.
    I wish they had a website though, with their menu, so when I’m at work in Albany and on my way back home, I can order a pizza to go and try the tasty variations they have!

  4. Jim, yes, her secret for such longevity is perfect!

    Rene, I love her smile throughout the video. And I LOVE how she says they tease each other. They must bring out the best in each other, and we all can learn a lot from their relationship.

  5. I love, love, love this! She is a sweetheart. Bren and I will have to check out their restaurant. Wow, 67 years…I believe there’s nothing as romantic as seeing a couple like this still together, still holding hands and affectionate. ((sigh))


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