Anthony Gonzalez Staff Reporter
January 9, 2014
A little more than a year ago, a trio of brothers launched a small business selling products inspired by their mother, Granny Roselli.
Granny Roselli, the owner of Sunny Italy, kept the customers coming back for her family recipes, which included a salad dressing and unique pasta sauce.
Daisy Roselli passed away in 2010 at age 101. The restaurant closed, but her children, John, Joseph and Frank took action.
Joe Roselli, who previously owned a bakery, saved his mother’s recipe and decided to have the pasta sauce bottled after her death.
John Roselli left his job as a deli manager at Harris Teeter in Winston-Salem.
Frank Roselli stepped out of retirement to help put the business together.
“I do the walking and talking,” said John Roselli, who was in Elkin last week to distribute his products. “I have to say, when we started this entire concept, none of us would ever imagine that it would have the type of momentum.”
John said that he knew the items would be met with popularity in Wilkes, but now the brothers are about to break 100 stores carrying the items.
“Yes, I am familiar with the salad dressing,” said Joan Haley, who was shopping at Ingles. “She’s Granny. She’s kind of like that popular KFC guy. You know his name?”
Haley was referencing Col. Harland David Sanders, an American businessman, best known for founding Kentucky Fried Chicken, and later acting as the company’s goodwill ambassador and symbol.
“Granny was the nicest woman in the world. She was warm and kind. She would not only work hard, but she made people feel important. She was the comfort for them,” said John Roselli.
“We first had the sauce. Then we launched the salad. After that came the salad topping,” he said.
Today, you can find the Sunny Italy pasta sauce at several IGA stores in Wilkes County, throughout Elkin, at Roselli’s Bakery in Mount Airy and at select Lowes Foods locations across the Piedmont.
“I think we’re about to take another giant step in business. If I were to point to any challenge, it might be that we have to look for a larger facility to meet the future demand of the products,” said Roselli.
According to Roselli, that could mean more space, more production, which could equate to more jobs.
Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.