A century after their first store opened in Kinross, the Giacopazzi family has launched a second store, only a mile away from the original site. Specialising in pizza and ice cream, store owners Franck and Joanna Casonato were soon joined behind the till by their first child. Tim Murray reports
The Giacopazzi family has had two major additions this year, as, more than 100 years after its first store opened for business, the family-run operation finally opened its second outlet.
And as well as overseeing the store, Franck and Joanna Casonato, the son-in-law and daughter of Joe, from the original dynasty, have had their first child too.
The fact the two arrived within days of each other only made for even more stress for the extended family.
The two stores are only a short distance apart – “They’re about a mile away from each other,” says Frank. “We’re our own competition.” Each has its own point of difference, however.
“The first shop is run by my wife’s parents,” he says. “The new shop was opened by my wife and I. It’s close, but we’d been looking and it was the right size for what we wanted to do.”
And the point of difference? “At the other shop we make our own Italian ice cream. The family has been doing it for more than 100 years; we’re still using the same recipe for vanilla that we have for years,” he explains.
As well as selling its own ice cream, the new store, which is 3,000sq ft also has its own pizza oven.
“We had the idea in mind of opening our own pizza restaurant, it’s a good profit margin product, like ice cream. We thought about having a sit-down restaurant, but we decided to make it just takeaway, and have it as part of a convenience store.
It’s made in an authentic Italian pizza oven, one imported specially for the store. “We went to the Italian town of Rimini for an exhibition where they had catering equipment in stores. The acquisition came with its own training in Mantova, Italy – “We spent three days training in a factory and a pizzeria in Italy,” explains Franck – and fits in neatly with the Giacopazzi offering.
“We’ve always been focused on food to go. We did a refit on the first store a few years ago and it concentrated on this,” he says.
Both stores have forged close links with local bakers at Stuart’s of Buckhaven, which keeps a supply of fresh bread and other lines. “The pizza oven is a really nice feature, it does take up some space, but it’s worth it, and we’ve still got room for groceries and other offerings,” Franck says.
Business has been brisk since it opened. “It started really well, as there was the novelty value and people wanted to try the pizza. Now we’re trying to really build the loyal following up.”
It’s been helped by the proximity of a school, with the store offering pizza by the slice for pupils rather than the evening’s full pizza offering. “We have 200 or 300 schoolchildren in, we bake a lot just before they arrive,” he says.
There’s also a coffee machine, with a loyalty card aimed at enticing regular business, as well as Frappino frozen drinks.
“We’re trying different things all the time,” says Franck. “We’re looking at a lot of local suppliers.”
Both stores are run in partnership with Nisa, which further aided the new opening, Franck says. “We had our own plan, but they helped us too,” he explains. “It’s always good to have the support there.”
Where the new store and its sister operation succeed further is in their wine offering. “We’ve been building it in the other store for years,” says Franck. “We’ve got a really strong customer base and we’re known for it. We have a few different suppliers and we have wines from different countries; we’ve got quite a lot of Italian wines in now and we vary them regularly. We also run tastings. We have customers coming back to see what new ones we have on offer and we pride ourselves on the quality of the wine we offer. We have around 100 in all at any one time, some customers don’t mind paying up to £30 a bottle.”