John Fascia, co-founder of Fascia's Chocolates, Waterbury, Conn.

As a young man, John Fascia always wanted to own his own business. Since he loved chocolate, he visited many chocolate shops and read all kinds of confectionery and candy-making books. He consulted with many people in the chocolate industry and learned from the invaluable expertise of Van Leer Chocolates. He also joined the Retail Confectioners International, which helped him a great deal.

Anxious to realize his passion, Fascia went out and bought a 100-lb. used melter and 100 lbs. of chocolate. The first items Fascia and his wife, Helen, made in the basement of their home were chocolate pops and some nut bark. He brought them to where he still worked as a technician building instruments and the candy sold out.

That initial sign of success prompted the Fascias to continue making chocolate, eventually leading to setting up shop in a small retail location in 1964. It wasn’t long before they outgrew that site and moved into their present larger location where they now have 12-14 employees, producing 50-plus varieties of chocolates, including truffles, fudge, brittles and other items.

Although the bulk of the company’s sales come from retail, the company does do mail order through its on-line mail-order catalogue.

Fascia’s has received many awards and recognition, including Waterbury Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year award.

Jon and Helen Fascia have three daughters involved in the business, with Lynee Fascia Mouanes heading up the enterprise as president and Lousie Fascia Romeo and Laurie Fascia Rodgrigues overseeing office and management responsibilities.

Q. What did you think you would be when you grew up?

A. I always wanted to be a fighter pilot.

Q. Name one or some of your favorite movies….

A. “Life is Beautiful” with Roberto Benigni and Chevy Chase in his “Vacation” movies.

Q. Describe your perfect dream vacation.

A. Traveling through Italy and visiting my family’s hometowns.

Q. What books are you currently reading?

A. Everything I could get my hands on. I love to read chocolate and candy magazines, such as Candy Industry, books and magazines on health, history, biographies and geography. National Geographic is another magazine favorite. There are so many books I enjoy that I had to buy another bookcase for all my books.

Q. Aside from a family member, whom would you most want to be stranded with on a deserted island?

A. Probably Paula Dean. I could fish and she could cook.

Q. What is your pet peeve?

A. People that are not educated on quality chocolates and question the price.

Q. I’d give anything to meet?

A. Condolleezza Rice. She is a very well-spoken, interesting and educated woman.

Q. The best piece of advice that you’ve received?

A. Do the best, use the best, never give up and smile.

Q. What excites you the most about your job?

A. The excitement of always doing something different and developing new products and ideas and seeing people respond to our product. Most importantly, I get to enjoy a good piece of rich dark chocolate.