Neighbors: Glenwood Springs man has a simple life: self-employment, pizza, punk rock
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Axel Shavalier is simplifying his life.
Since his younger, rowdier days, and getting into restaurant management, the New Castle resident is enjoying playing music, being self-employed and running Mancinelli’s Pizza with his wife, Jennifer.
On Friday morning Shavalier seemed easygoing yet energetic as he drank from a tall cup of Starbucks coffee to start his day. He wore jeans, a T-shirt and a hooded sweatshirt. It beats wearing a suit and making six-figures a year for someone else.
He’s been in the restaurant business for a while.
“I think my very first job was a busboy,” he said.
In college at “the CU of Michigan,” the best way to afford playing music was waiting tables and bar tending, he said. Working at an El Chico’s in the summers in Tennessee where his parents lived, a manager asked him what he’d do after college and convinced him to accept a management position. He ended up getting a corporate job and bouncing around different places with the restaurant chain to offer a fresh set of eyes at different restaurant locations.
After about three years of that he got sick of it and moved to Miami in the mid-1990s, where he met his wife. He’d been to Colorado before when friends’ bands played at the Mountain Fair and he fell in love with Carbondale. They wanted to get out of the big city and moved to the area in 1999 after hearing Mancinelli’s, run by a friend, was for sale.
Shavalier says he loves to go to work every day because each day is different, and there’s always the chance of meeting another really cool person. Working for himself offers a lot of freedom.
“I would never be able to go back to work for somebody else,” he said. “I couldn’t ” especially with the music thing kicking again.”
The employees are like a family, he said. Many have been high school kids, who, like himself at that age, got in trouble but just needed a little encouragement.
Working at Mancinelli’s “is almost like a social service,” he joked.
As for Shavalier’s high school days, “I was getting in a lot of trouble,” he said. “If I was doing something stupid I was doing something really stupid” like standing on the roof of a car and driving through a Wal-Mart parking lot. He and his friends would later see the television show “Jackass” and joke about how they were doing the often dangerous stunts in the show years ago and should have cashed in on it.
When he was around 19 to 23, Shavalier went on national tours with some of his friend’s punk and rock bands. He was mostly along for the ride but would sit in on occasion and play horns, he said.
Shavalier has a jazz background but now plays bass with Ick, a local punk-rock band. He switched instruments so he could more easily play with others in the area.
“There’s no open mic night here where you can play flugelhorn,” he said.
These days he’s focusing on keeping things simple. In his free time there’s mostly music, but also snowboarding in the winter and floating down the river in the summer. He prefers to enjoy one or a few activities instead of spreading time over too many. He and his wife decided to sell the Mancinelli’s location in Rifle.
“I’m not the kind of person that will ever really retire,” he said. “But we can get down to one and live comfortably with one.”
Shavalier said running Mancinelli’s is the job for him. He thinks of the small restaurant space as a little “hot rod machine” that can crank out as much food as a large restaurant with only a few people working.
“Some people stumble or discover ” in my case stumble ” into something that’s for them,” he said.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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