Local nonprofit directors dedicate their lives to the common good. photos by Keith Borgmeyer Cheryl Howard, Nora Stewart Early Learning Center As a former graduate...
Kyle and Jessica Schlosser, Owners, Lizzi & Rocco’s Natural Pet Market
How did you two meet?
We are both from the same small town in the Bootheel. While our families like to say we probably met while we were toddlers, since Kyle’s aunt was a teacher at my daycare, we officially met during a class project in high school.
What was your first date?
A very elegant meal at Ruby Tuesday, followed by watching some “Dawson’s Creek” on VHS — a pretty rad night for 1998!
How long have you been together?
We’ve been together for over 18 years and just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary in May!
How does business play a role in your relationship dynamics?
Kyle: I feel that our relationship dynamic plays more of a role in our business than the other way around. We counterbalance each other very well in terms of spontaneity (Jessica) and over-analyzing (me) more than anything else. When we were younger, this was the other way around, but now we have definitely switched roles.
Jessica: We talk about the business constantly. It is literally just part of who we are. It’s like another one of our children. Much like with human children, it can certainly create a little tension at times, but it’s also brought us so much closer together, and has made me appreciate certain qualities about him even more!
What does your family like to do outside of work?
Our best friends have a son the same age as our older daughter, so we love letting the kids run around while we just hang out, cook, and enjoy some yummy food and drinks! We also love spending time outside either gardening or walking on the trails.
Tell us about your family:
We share our house (translation: we are housekeepers for) six dogs, ranging from eight to 65 pounds, a cat, two very spirited daughters who just turned 2 and 3, and the occasional foster dog for local rescue groups. It’s hectic, but super entertaining!
What are the best aspects about your partner?
Jessica: He’s so incredibly willing to go with the flow. I’ve thrown a lot of stuff at him over the years, and he’s just perfectly wonderful about coming along for the ride without complaining at all. He’s very patient. He’s also an amazingly loving father to all of our little creatures!
Kyle: Jessica gives everything to every aspect of her life. She dives headfirst into every endeavor she has been a part of, and she’s done that since we first met nearly 20 years ago. She also gives more than she takes and puts everyone around her above herself.
What is unique about your relationship?
Kyle: Hardest question. Probably how we interact with each other. After being together and growing with each other over the years, we have a knack for understanding and anticipating each other’s next steps.
Jessica: We’ve had a ton of people who have said they’d never be able to work with their spouse, but honestly, it has worked out really well for us! Our ability to be together day-in and day-out without wanting to strangle each other is pretty impressive!
What is your favorite restaurant to frequent in CoMo?
Jessica: Man, that’s so tricky, because we have so many amazing restaurants in Columbia! Sycamore, Broadway Brewery, and 44 Stone are up there though.
Kyle: Sycamore, Broadway Brewery, and 44 Stone are definitely our favorites, but the food scene here is really fantastic for people like us who like to eat locally sourced and well-crafted food.
What is one thing people don’t know about you?
Kyle: If they talk to me long or often enough, most people know this, but I completely dork out for three things: Music, great beer, and public policy.
Jessica: There’s not a lot people don’t know about me — I’m a pretty open book. However, I do irrationally detest yellow mustard. So there’s that.
What has been your favorite project to work on together?
Kyle: The construction and building of our business out of the Nifong store when we were young and stupid. So many ridiculously late nights filled with trepidation, hope, and laughter during that time.
Jessica: And beer. There was lots of beer. I would have to agree though — physically building the store and watching our passion and dreams come to life was pretty darn awesome!