Tree Fruits, Berries, Honey, Woodcrafts ...
The roots of Gaudio and Son Produce go back five generations. The stand's proprietors, John Gaudio, Sr. and his son, John, Jr., are descendants of Joseph Caito, the son of Sicilian immigrants. The Caitos sold produce from a horse-drawn wagon long before the days of Findlay Market. Joseph continued in his parents' business, and so did his daughter and son-in-law, Corrine and Frank Gaudio, who brought the enterprise to Findlay Market. Their son and grandson, John and John, Jr., operate the stand today.
John senior was one of seven children who all grew up helping their parents at Findlay Market. John took over the business from his father in 1963 and, when he had two children of his own, John, Jr., and Sue, they also became a part of the produce stand at an early age.
Today John, Jr., owns the business with his father. John, Jr. was ten when he first started helping out at the stand but he was much younger when he first got to ride around the neighborhood in the produce truck with his dad. It made him feel like a king. John still thinks it's special to be a part of this business, because he comes from a family that has worked and lived together very closely.
When John, Sr., was growing up, his mother, Corinne, was often sick and unable to take care of her children. So Corrine's sister, Annie, helped to raise John and his siblings. Annie was an integral part of the produce business during her entire life and only stopped working at Findlay Market a couple of years before she passed away in February 2003.
Ties like these keep John, Jr., loyal. It most ways, a family business is just like any other, with no shortcuts to success. But at the same time, in a multi-generational family business you're part of something bigger than just the job you go to every day. John came to understand that only after he left the business in his early twenties to work as a house painter. After a couple of years, he was back with the family produce business.
John, Sr., on the other hand, never had the desire to leave. The only time he spent away from the business was to serve in the Army from 1960 to 1962. Several different opportunities were available to him when he returned, but he went right back to running the family produce business.
The Gaudios are part of an extended family of Findlay Market merchants. The Tedesco family produce stand is run by Salvi Tedesco and his son Gary. Salvi is the first cousin of Annie, the woman who helped raise John, Sr.