Berkshire Profile: Vincent Zoito Jr.By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Saturday, July 08, 2006
Welcome to Berkshire Profile, an iberkshires weekly feature appearing on Sunday. Each week, iberkshires will highlight a Berkshires resident or entity making a contribution to the Berkshires way of life.
|Vincent Zoito Jr. at his recently opened Village Kountry Krafts shop.|
Williamstown - Vincent "Vinnie" Zoito Jr. has tackled numerous professions and collected numerous family-related "titles" throughout his 59 years of living.
Man Of Many Talents
As a youth, he worked with several uncles as a mason tender, and he spent about a decade as a lead guitarist and vocalist with rock and roll bands, including a group known as "The Other Guys."
He was employed at former Berkshire region entities such as Beloit-Jones and the Arnold Print Works, and his resume includes time as a provisional police officer in North Adams and a reserve and ultimately a full-time police sergeant in Williamstown.
"I was even the [Williamstown] acting police chief once for a week and a half," Zoito said during a July 8 interview.
He is a husband, a father, a skilled woodworker and artisan, and the owner of the Colonial Plaza-based Village Kountry Krafts shop.
He is very happy to serve in all those capacities, he said.
But there is another dimension to the prism of Zoito's life that causes his eyes to dance and an already broad grin to slice clear across his face.
"I'm a grandfather," he said. "I love it, love it, love it, love it. My granddaughters are Allison and Tessa, and I'm going to spoil them filthy rotten as much as I can. And my wife loves being a grandmother. You talk about a woman glowing; you should see Marcia when she sees the grandchildren."
Zoito married Marcia Golka over three decades ago, and he remembered the day as though he'd just said "I do."
"We've been married for 36 years as of 11:45 in the morning of June 27, 2006," he said. "I remember June 27 1970 very well."
The couple have two grown sons, Jeremy and Jason, both of whom are graduates of the Charles H. McCann Technical High School. The couple make their home on Woodcock Road.
From The Band To A Badge
Vincent Zoito Jr. was born in North Adams to Vincent and Anna [Mierzejewski] Zoito. He received his elementary school education at the former Johnson School. After completing the eighth grade, he entered Drury High School and subsequently graduated from the school.
He was rarely idle, he said.
"I've worked from the age of 15, 16," he said. "I worked for my uncles, and when I was playing with the bands, we played a lot of different places. We played at Mount Snow [Vermont ski resort], we played at some college things, and we played at places like the Three-Way, the Five Flies, the Carousel [former clubs in New York]...the guys from 'The Other Guys' were a good bunch of guys. There's still three of them here in the area."
He gained experience handling lay-outs at Beloit-Jones and screen-printing at shops like the Arnold Print Works; "places that used to be here but aren't anymore," he said.
Thoughts about a law enforcement career began niggling at Zoito prior to his marriage. The idea of helping and protecting people appealed to him, he said, and the diverse nature of the work also seemed a good fit.
"I never liked being cooped up in a mill," he said.
As a North Adams provisional officer, Zoito continued his employment at the Arnold Print Works and in 1973, he was appointed as a reserve officer for Williamstown.
He was appointed as a full-time Williamstown police officer in 1978, and spent 23 of his 31 years in law enforcement as a town police officer. He earned sergeant's rank and was the lead investigating officer assigned to numerous investigations. Zoito retired from the town police department in 2001.
Wood-working and other artisan pursuits have been part of Zoito's life for about 20 years, he said. The process of using his imagination to design and his hands to create provided a useful diversion throughout his law enforcement career.
"It's a great therapy when you are a police officer," he said. "It's a way to try and concentrate on something other than work and some of the things you see. And there's the feeling you get when you see the look on people's faces when you've given them something that you've built. With building and woodworking, the more you do it, the better you get. And when you've made something with your own two hands, in your own workshop, you say 'yeah, I built that.' It's satisfaction."
His hand-done pieces and other designs, which include furniture items, lamps and home and yard accessories, have been included at artisan galleries including Camelot Village in Bennington, Vt., the Northern Berkshire-based Crafter's Cottage, Crafty Creations, and the Legacy store. Zoito also operated a small shop at the former Quinn's paint shop before the North Adams shop closed.
His wife posed the question of opening a store of their own during 2005, Zoito said.
Out Of The Woodwork And Into Village Kountry Krafts
"I get bored quickly," Zoito said. "I always have to have something to do. My wife suggested that, rather than keep moving things from store to store, that we open our own shop. So here we are."
The business opened in December, and hosts the work of more than 35 crafters.
"There's room for more," he said. "My goal is 50 crafters."
Operating the shop provides a venue for socialization, an outlet for himself and other crafters, and a chance to show off what the regional population is capable of creating, Zoito said.
"There are so many talented people out there, and that's one of the reasons I did this," Zoito said. "There are lots of people from the Northern Berkshires and places like Pownal and Shaftsbury, Vermont, and places in New York, who are excellent crafters. I want to get them out of the woodwork. I want people to see all the artistic, creative talent we have right here, the talent that's been here."
"This Is A Good Place"
He has no current plans to leave the area, he said. Conversations about relocating have occurred in the past but Zoito and his wife opted to stay in the area. Both he and his wife have many relatives in the Berkshires, including Zoito's mother.
"Family is family is family is family and that's about all I can say," Zoito said. "And there a lot of good things about this area. We have so many skilled people, so many good workers. We have lots of very nice people who work very hard to keep their homes here, and I wish more people understood that."
"This is a good place."
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or at 802-823-9367.