Fazio's iconic Italian market in Arnold up for sale as brothers plan to retire
Say arrivederci to Mickey and Frankie Fazio.
The owners of Fazio's Pizza & Italian Food in Arnold have announced plans to sell the family business, hang up their aprons, and retire.
"It's time," Mickey Fazio said.
The brothers, who took over the business from their parents, Pasquale and Elvira Fazio, made the decision for health reasons. They also want a chance to enjoy "the fruits of labor."
"We're not getting any younger," said Frankie Fazio, 63.
"I've never had more than four days' vacation," Mickey Fazio, 67, said. "I just want to be able to wake up in the morning and say, 'Eh — I don't want to go to work.'
"I've never done that."
Fazio's opened in 1968. It started out as a pizza shop and has since expanded into a deli, specialty market and bakery.
Family immigrated in the 1950s
It's run by the Fazio family, who immigrated to the United States from Italy in the 1950s.
"My dad and I came over in 1956," Mickey Fazio said. "Then, two years later, he saved enough money (and) had my mother and my two sisters and my brother (come) over. I was like the insurance policy."
Mickey Fazio said the business started because his mom wanted to open a pizza shop. His dad said OK.
The rest is history.
"It wasn't a bad decision," he said. "It was something we all wanted to do. Everybody pitched in."
"They put their heart and soul into it, and we basically took it over," Frankie Fazio said.
Fazio's makes a variety of foods, but some of the more popular items are hoagies, pepperoni bread, pizza kits and baked goods like raisin squares. They also fry fish on Fridays.
You won't find pepperoni bread in Atlanta
Pepperoni bread is always in demand.
"I have people that will get 10 of them at a time and they'll take them to Atlanta, they'll take them to Columbus — wherever their kids are at," Mickey Fazio said. "That's one of the things that kids ask for 'cause you can't get pepperoni bread like this anywhere else in the country."
Mickey Fazio said the business has changed over the years, and he wants the new owner to be someone who is dedicated and will evolve with the times. He believes those things are what has kept Fazio's in business for so long.
"I've been here every day that we're open," he said. "If I'm not here, my brother's here. You have to keep a focus on your business."
"(We kept) adding a few things here and there, changing a few things, eliminating a few things."
"In business, if you don't recognize the changes, you're done. Change is good. I'm looking for somebody that recognizes this."
The brothers announced their retirement and business sale at the beginning of the year. They hope to find a buyer by the end of March. They are not looking to lease.
"I just want to sell everything," Mickey Fazio said. "I don't want to hang onto anything."
Customers, employees saddened, hopeful
News of the pending sale has not been easy for customers and employees, who see Fazio's as an area landmark.
"I think it's a shame," said Jerry Little, 68, of Oakmont. "Everybody in the world knows where Fazio's Market is."
"I hope they can find a buyer. I hope it will continue. I think the community needs a market like this, a deli like this. If it's not going to happen, I think it will be a huge loss."
Mickey Fazio said he will definitely miss interacting with the customers.
He was making small talk during the lunch rush Friday as he sliced cheese, wrapped sandwiches and worked the register.
Frankie Fazio manned the fish frying station.
"I know 90 percent of the people that come in here," Mickey Fazio said.
Lisa Gabrish, a former employee who stopped by the deli Friday, said working for the Fazios was a great experience and she will miss them.
"Mickey and that family (are) very, very nice to work for," said Gabrish, 59, of New Kensington. "The people that came in were very nice and they're always very, very busy."
Employee Amber Mensch, 22, of Arnold, said she has worked for Mickey Fazio for almost three years and said the business is her life.
"I don't want to go work for anybody else," she said. "He's been good to me. I'm going to miss him."
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @maddyczebstrib.