May 21, 2019
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“‘…Oh, Hunsey.’ My grandfather knew what that meant.”
More than just ownership has passed from father to son for one Mid-City business.
Zito’s Plating and Polishing Works is a family-owned small business in Mid-City that was founded in 1946 by Henry McCloskey’s grandfather, Charles Zito.
Henry began to work for his grandfather at a young age. Eventually, Henry became the owner of the business, and seventeen years ago, his son, Corey, began to work with him. Today, in Zito’s 73rd year, Henry and Corey are the heart of this multigenerational family business.
Zito’s offers all types of metal refinishing and lighting services. All of the work is done in the shop by a specialist using high-quality materials. Zito’s offers a variety of services, which includes small individual jobs to large commercial projects, and they take great pride in treating each customer as if they were part of their own family.
Different Ages, Different Perspectives
Over the years, the older family members imparted their skills and insights, which came from lived experiences, while the younger generation brought their knowledge of current trends in the marketplace to their business model.
“I remember trying to get my grandfather to switch to bead blasting,” Henry says. “It wasn’t easy because he had used a different process his whole life. In his mind he thought, ‘Why change something that works?’”
Recently, Corey has applied his knowledge of technology to use social media and internet marketing to grow the business.
“From my grandfather, I learned that if I am fair with a customer, I will always have a return customer,” Henry says. “I learned to inspect every item before it went out of the door. When Grandma Zito was alive, she would make sure that all of the work was done correctly. She would inspect every screw. If she saw that something was not right, she would call my grandfather back. She would just say, ‘Oh, Hunsey.’ My grandfather knew what that meant.”
Corey adds, “I did not know my grandfather, but I learned from my dad what he taught him. Running a business is hard work with trials and tribulations. When it is my time to run Zito’s, I’ll have to work hard, but it will be worth it to make sure that the business continues to be successful. I learned from my father to be fair and honest. I also learned to do things for customers as I would want it done if I was doing it for myself.”
The McCloskeys believe that their family-owned business has sustained itself because of their client-centered focus. They have consistently worked together with the common goal to provide excellent service. It is what gives them a sense of worth.
“Over the years, many other companies that offer the same services as Zito’s have opened. Each time, people would tell me that they would put Zito’s out of business. Well, those other shops are not here, but Zito’s is,” Henry says. Corey quickly adds, “And we will continue to give our customers respect and excellent service at a fair price to make sure that Zito’s will be successful for many more years.”
Zito’s Plating and Polishing Works’ legacy is rooted in this family’s deep ties to each other, to their craft, and most importantly, to their clients’ satisfaction.
“When I think of Zito’s, I am most proud that I have my son working for me,” Henry says.
Katherine Diliberto has lived, and raised a family in New Orleans. She is a retired school teacher and administrator who enjoys traveling and exploring all the Crescent City has to offer.