All In The Family
When Frank T. and his wife Gene Rizzo purchased the Pilgrim’s Rest Motel in 1951, it was a quaint little stopping place on Highway 99. The motel was a motor court of little cottages and a residence which included a front office to check in travelers.
One of the first things the Rizzo’s did after purchasing the business was to remove the cottages on the upper level and replace them with the present 17-room motel. Eventually all the old cottages were removed and another motel section with two apartments and 15 motel rooms was built on the lower section.
These days, the Hi-Lo Motel, Café & RV Park–owned by Rizzo’s daughter Margaret Dean–sits on three acres on South Weed Boulevard and is comprised of 41 motel rooms, 4 apartments, an RV Park and a restaurant.
Following My Father’s Formula for Success
by Margaret Dean
Most parents will tell their children to work hard if they want to get anywhere in life. My brother, sister and I were much luckier; we had parents who showed us the formula. I never saw my dad undertake anything he couldn’t conquer, and the tasks weren’t always easy. His secret was hard work, determination and a wife who wasn’t afraid to work along with him.
I’d like to tell you about a Frank Rizzo many people didn’t know. He was eight years old when his parents came to this country from Italy. They located in Susanville for the first year before moving to Weed. All his education after graduating from Weed High School was self taught.
His first business venture was a Mobil Station in Weed. He married my mother and they bought another piece of property and built a liquor store, combined with a café and rental units. From that time on, it was buy an old business, fix it up and take on another. He treated life and business as a big game. Danger did not bother him and he loved to “wheel and deal.” He encouraged his children to do the same. He convinced us to buy property and become exposed to the business world and hard work early in life. He wasn’t one to just give his children money; he made us work for it.
Once he played the stock market and lost. His lesson was to stay out of it and invest in something he had more control over. He stayed with real estate and businesses. He would work on them and directly oversee them, never being afraid of long hours to accomplish his goals.
Many measured my dad in monetary worth with land, businesses, airplanes, etc. Those who really got to know Frank Rizzo learned he was just as soft inside as he tried to appear hard on the outside. But to me, Frank Rizzo was so extra special because I felt the love in his heart, the warmth in his smile and the tender touch of a loving father.