When Mike's Hard Lemonade sales rep Vinny Muffoletto walks into the Bartow Avenue Bronx CubeSmart location he makes his cheerful presence known with a hearty greeting to the team members he considers his friends. "I can't believe these people are so good to me. I know them by first name. They ask if I need help. They see me by myself sometimes and it's hard to move things and they say ‘Hey, I'll give you a hand.' If I have a bad day and I'm not ready to go inside I'll take a cup of coffee and do some emails or phone calls here. It’s like a lounge, very comfortable. And it's a beautiful pit stop. I can come here first and go to Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island. Who's got it better than me?"
Indeed, Vinny describes his entire life as a series of "blessings in disguise." Born and raised around Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, he met his wife in high school. Married 32 years, they have three children, a son who's about to get married and two daughters who graduated cum laude from college. ("I always tease them and say, ‘Did you win that Starbucks thing, the coollata?'")
Out of college, Vinny worked in the family business as a baker of Italian breads, eventually starting his own bakery but ended up shuttering it after 9/11. A friend recommend he apply for a job at Manhattan Beer Distributors—a perfect fit for his gregarious personality. "Within a year I got promoted twice. It just came easy to me. Then I had this opportunity to work for Mike's Hard Lemonade. They needed someone to focus on Long Island where it's basically very busy for Mike's so I'm actually killing two birds with one stone and helping both companies."
Even Vinny's current home, a large house on a 1.8-acre lot in Westchester, came about serendipitously. While serving jury duty in the Bronx, he befriended a man from Ecuador whose wife had just had a baby; the man explained that his landlord complained about the baby crying. Vinny offered to help the man look into buying his own place.
"To make a long story short, he came to my house and says ‘Do you want to sell me this house?' And I said, ‘No, this is a turnkey house. It's all paid for.' I gave him an amount I'd just had an adjustor give me—I was looking to take out another loan to help my kids with college tuition. He gets approved for the exact amount I ask for. I asked my wife, ‘What do you think?' She goes, ‘Where are we going to live?' and I say, ‘I don’t know. I'll figure it out.' So we sold the house."
Four months later, Vinny's daughter found the property in Westchester, but it was too expensive for them. When they visited, however, Vinny chatted up the owner, an Italian widow who took a liking to him. "She gave me a fantastic deal. I couldn’t believe it because no way we could afford that house. Everything's been going well for me between the job, my health—thank God, I'm trying to lose weight and keep myself healthy. The kids are always bothering me so I make a joke, trying to sneak a pretzel or potato chip. If they find it, they make a big deal about it and I like to make sure they find it sometimes. What else can I say… I'm happy. I'm lucky, very lucky, and I thank God every day."