I have always said that I love my job at Caputo’s. And I’ve always said that’s it’s because of my endless capacity to learn about and adore cheese, chocolate, and the Old World traditions we support. I certainly do feel a deep passion for all those things, but I think I was wrong about why I have loved my job so much.
Caputo’s opened 18 years ago with a commitment to selling the best imported and locally-produced foods to Salt Lake City and beyond. I was obviously there then, and I’ve been working here since as long as I could lift boxes. But over the last seven years, I started taking on more and more significant responsibility from my dad. As the portions of the business in my hands grew, I started spending less time on the floor. That was less time working with cheese, less time with my dad, and less time with the crew of cheese mongers and sandwich slingers who I had grown to also think of as family—many were, and are.
Last year around this time of year, my dad (semi) retired. It’s taken me that long to realize it, but it actually wasn’t my love for food that made my job the best in the world. It was that I got to hang out with my dad all the time.
Don’t get me wrong, I have found new reasons to be passionate and certainly do better financially nowadays, but as I think about Father’s Day and Tony’s retirement, what I wouldn’t do to just sweep the floor while listening to my dad BS with customers again. Even if just for a week. It’s the small moments that make me proud. Proud to work here. Proud to be Tony’s son.
They always say that you never know what you have till it’s gone, and it’s true. Through all that ambition for our store, I wish I would have known to appreciate what was really going on.
Luckily, he’s only retired and still around and in good health. Now, I just need to find a new excuse to hang out with him so much. I know I’ll make it happen. It’s the rest of you I feel bad for. I am no replacement for Tony Caputo. In so many ways our place will never be the same. But we’ve all learned so much from Tony, and I think that’s the best thing a dad and a boss can do.
Happy Father’s Day, and Happy Retirement to my dad.