Women Working: Take a chance

5 mins read

WILTON – The Calzolaio Pasta Company, well known simply as Calzolaio’s, has been open since 2009, and co-owner, Rocell Marcellino, attributes their opening to a well-timed opportunity.

“My husband and I had been working in the restaurant business for a long time,” Marcellino said. “And an opportunity came along, and I was like, what am I doing, why am I working for other people? Let’s do it for ourselves…when opportunities come, you have to take a chance.”

Marcellino also reflected upon working for other people and expressed that she had some qualities that made doing so difficult, referring to herself as having been a “bad employee.” Taking the opportunity to be her own boss worked well for her.

Being a business owner during a pandemic has complicated a lot of modern conveniences, especially in the restaurant industry, but restaurant owners like Marcellino have found ways to keep up with demand through change.

“It’s been extremely challenging, but we’ve been very fortunate at the same time,” she said. “We had a decent takeout business before Covid, so then we just decided to expand, just go that way as a way to…keep open and generating an income for, not only ourselves, but all of our employees, so we were able to keep a good number of people employed full-time the whole time we were shut down.”

Marcellino was happy to keep the employees she has because working in the restaurant industry requires a particular skills set, and finding qualified candidates is difficult. She is grateful for the people who have stayed and continue to work for her.

“We have wonderful employees; without them, we’d have nothing,” Marcellino said.

As a woman in the restaurant industry, Marcellino has experienced a wide range of reactions to her being in a position of authority. However, she has always taken a firm stance in response to unpleasant reactions.

“They look at you like, ‘who’s the boss?’ or ‘why am I talking to you?’ or ‘where’s your husband? Where’s the owner?’ Like, ‘you’re looking at her,’” Marcellino said. “You have to stand up for yourself and carry yourself in a way that shows you’re in charge.”

She attributes her success, in part, to her very supportive business partner and husband. Marcellino also sees a generational shift in the way society treats women.

“He’s not like, ‘my wife’—in business, I’m his partner,” she said. “It’s a wonderful transformation of societal norms… it’s a good place that we’re heading, I think.”

As an older woman and employer of younger people, she finds joy in watching people grow, and appreciates that other people see things differently.

“It’s helpful to have different kinds of people working together because, you can be looking at the same room, and I see dead flowers in a vase, and someone else sees chairs out in the way, and other people see cobwebs in the corner.. Just embrace different views,” Marcellino said.

Marcellino is also happy to see the way her business presence has affected her relationship with her community and patrons. She expressed her gratitude for the support she’s received throughout the years and her ability to provide jobs, as well as giving people a place to come and have a good time.

“They just know you. You’ve done birthday parties for their kids or they had an anniversary party at your place. They just know you’re good for your word and they see that you care about people,” she said. “They’re not just our customers—they’re our friends…it’s been a great career; it’s the best thing we ever did.”

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