MARIETTA — The parent company of a pasta maker is selling the company that has been a familiar face for more than three decades in Marietta.
Christy & Associates Inc. announced it has made a strategic decision to leave the gourmet food business and is seeking to sell its subsidiary Rossi Pasta Ltd., which operates a manufacturing facility on Ohio 821 outside of Marietta and a store on Front Street.
“The whole business and brand are available,” Cort Thomas, general manager of Rossi Pasta, said. “Frank Christy has owned Rossi for 30 years, and it’s a strategic business decision to take offers for this interest and focus on other business interests now.”
John Rossi established the business in 1981 and grew a reputation for flavorful kinds of pasta, pizza dough mixes, sauces, seasonings and oils. The company was brought to Marietta from Athens by Christy and Bob Kirkbride and first established on Greene Street.
“That was the 114 Greene location, it was quite a tourist attraction there for a little while with the hand-crank pasta machine,” Kirkbride said. “We brought John Rossi and Peter Linn from Athens to open up here in that white building where the discount signs business is now.”
Fred Stanley, 83, of Albany said he has fond memories around the dinner table with Rossi Pasta as a main course.
“It’s worth the trip,” he said as he stopped in to grab various flavors for his daughter. “I remember when it was first opened, we used to dance with the owners.”
Kirkbride recalled not only the local tourism the small business brought but also its small success with the aid of catalogs.
“In the years I was involved they had a good catalog, especially around the holidays, that took a lot of work to make it look nice and get it sent around the world,” he said. “And they took orders from everywhere.”
Later after Kirkbride sold his stock in the business, the company grew to its current manufacturing facility on Ohio 821 in the Broughton complex and simultaneously opened up its Front Street retail presence still open today.
“We’re leasing both spaces, so it’s just the business for sale, there’s no real estate,” Thomas said. “Maybe we’ll see a small entrepreneur get their start or potentially another gift chain could take this on, we’re open to offers right now.”
Orders from varied locations persist, according to store clerk Lexi Riley, 18.
“People will come in around the holidays here, and we’ll take orders to send pasta across the country,” she said. “Or they’ll take orders at the office, but people like to come in and see the flavors and ask what they’d pair things with.”
One such pairing caught newcomer Tammy Mills, of Parkersburg, off guard Thursday.
“What do you do with chocolate pasta?” she said.
Riley said patrons will add whipped cream to the pasta and eat it as a dessert, while she’s heard others will add the pasta to a bowl of ice cream.
“But my favorite is the lemon pepper pasta,” she said.
“This is my first time here, I’ve gotten tired of the boring flavors at the grocery store and thought my husband and I might try the garlic fettucini and give dinner a little kick,” Mills said. “I figure I’ll be back now though, it all looks so good, and I’ll need to make some pizza, too.”