If you live south of town then you know Joe. He’s a guy who becomes your friend the moment you meet him. While he didn’t grow up here, he’s been in Jackson since 1990 and arguably more local than most.
There are two answers that are most common to the question, “what drew you to Jackson?” Those are: skiing and life change. For Joe, that sums up the reason for his relocation from Fair Lawn, New Jersey. There are many places to go if you want skiing but very few offer incredible skiing plus a life change quite like Jackson. It’s a small town feel that is not a mountain resort suburb of a larger city. Choosing Jackson means you make a commitment to this slower pace in order to put down roots here.
When you land a steady job it is such a relief to have the regular paycheck. It’s not easy to get a “real” job but rather it’s likely there are a couple odd jobs stitched together to make ends meet. Joe was working for a local mason but needed benefits. He decided to make the switch to UPS loading trailers at night. Clearly his personality and willingness to work hard was evident, and UPS offered him a job as a driver. This obviously clicked because he’s been driving for UPS for 23 years.
Many don’t realize that drivers actually have a fair amount of physical labor included in the job description. It is not for the person who wants to punch a clock. Joe explains, “our workday starts with unloading the trailers that have come in from Denver and Salt Lake and then loading our own trucks.” He adds “we actually have at least three hours of manual labor before we even leave our building for deliveries.” Joe’s daily routine begins at 5am so he can make breakfast and lunch to sustain him for the 10-12 hour workday ahead of him.
The growth of online shopping is one of the main reasons for the increase in volume of deliveries. But the town has also grown in size, too. There are more people living and visiting than when he first arrived here years ago. Each of these factors, as well as the untamed weather, are things that can affect his job on any given day. No two are alike. Luckily, Joe explains that he has had the route south of town for 18 years and “those customers have become my friends.” The people who have grown to know and appreciate Joe would say the same.
For over twenty years Joe skied the Village but, like many, his knees ultimately forced him to quit. He has no regrets because winter is only one of the seasons that residents love about Jackson. Each year many come to check out Jackson and it has made the off-seasons a little harder to enjoy like the old days. But for Joe, summer is about weekends spent at Jackson Lake on the boat. Life is good because he has built a home here. Marriage and raising four stepsons cemented roots in this valley. Jackson is no longer that mountain town where one would go for a life change. It’s now where he gets to watch his six grandsons grow up. For all those who pull into town and think they are here for one ski season, you may be like Joe and find yourself calling this home.
h/t Bridget Pattee
photo provided by Joe Cioffi