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A Look Back at the Life of Jamey Mazzotta

09/27/2015 10:02PM ● Published by Enjoy Magazine

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Leaving a Legacy

October 2015

Enjoy Magazine celebrates the incredible life and mourns the passing of Jamey Mazzotta, the father of Enjoy’s James Mazzotta.

Jamey, a biochemist who died last month after a battle with cancer, co-founded KMS Research in Redding and launched the careers of many of today’s leaders in the beauty industry. But when Jamey started KMS in Cascade Square, he had no way of knowing that four decades later, an enterprising group of his former employees would be running a successful magazine and local retail shop in that very space. Publishers Yvonne Mazzotta (his daughter-in-law) and Michelle Adams, Editor-in- Chief Ronda Ball, Advertising Manager Michael O’Brien, recipe writer Lana Granfors and former designer Matt Briner were all part of the team that bonded as coworkers at KMS and launched Enjoy Magazine in October 2006.

Born July 9, 1947, in Venice, Jamey moved to Redding when he was hired by Jhirmack, and he made revolutionary discoveries that changed the way Jhirmack did business. He left the company in 1975 to form KMS with Dick Kornfield and Gary Smith.

“He would compound his products and fill his bottles at night, and hit the salon
trail during the day,” Michael O’Brien says.

It wasn’t long before his business was an international success, and hairstylists and distributors relished the opportunity to meet him. “He was charismatic, and had a magnetic ‘tall, dark, and handsome’ personality,” Michael says. “His self-made-man story was inspiring.”

Jamey was a driven man who knew what he wanted. “He knew people and could build relationships quickly through his charm and sharing his purpose,” Yvonne says. “He would make funny napkin art and silly jokes when having fancy dinners with international distributors. He broke down barriers that would bring him closer to people.”

As his business grew, he needed a real production facility, so he moved production from downtown Redding to a building in Bella Vista. When that got too small, Jamey helped design and build a new, 113,000-squarefoot manufacturing, office and education
facility on Mountain Lakes Boulevard.

“Jamey Mazzotta had The Midas Touch— whatever he did turned to gold, from racing to building companies,” Michael says. “We used to have a saying about Jamey: It’s good to be King. He was the king of his empire. He was a benevolent king, though. As a gesture of approval of my work, he had my car—a 1976 Datsun 280 Z – painted. I could not afford to do so at that time. I think he mostly did this because my camo-colored car looked bad in his parking lot! But seriously, I will never forget that.”

Indeed, KMS was more than just a job. “I remember the man outside the walls of the business,” says Lana Granfors, who began working at KMS in 1979. “I knew the father who proudly introduced me for the first time to his young son, James, probably around the age of 10 or 11 at the time. I knew the handson man in the production area and the packaging lines at KMS. I knew the man who shared in the good times of company baseball games, hot dog cookouts, hula hoop contests on the docks, building KMS rafts for competing in the river raft races, and all the fabulous potlucks. I remember horseback riding together, rides in his Cobra up and down Highway 299 at crazy speeds, and one of his favorites, margaritas and laughs across the table at Doc’s.”

In his personal life, Jamey was a rancher, equestrian, scientist, race car driver and even an athlete—he was drafted to the Angels major league baseball team, but couldn’t play because he went into the military.

“Ribbons, medals, trophies, belt buckles and champagne—there was always something to celebrate with Jamey,” Yvonne says. “He was the type of guy you wanted to please, because when you made him proud, you almost felt like you would explode with joy. Fear was not in his vocabulary. He wasn’t afraid to try anything and his enthusiasm was infectious.”

He sold KMS in 2002 and moved to Newport Coast, and although most KMS employees initially stayed on with the new company, “once Jamey was out of the picture, the spirit of the company also left,” Michael O’Brien says. “Gone was the entrepreneurial feel. Nothing was the same after Jamey sold KMS.”

So a small group of people channeled Jamey’s entrepreneurial spirit and took their own leap of faith, and published the first issue of Enjoy Magazine in October 2006. The endeavor has expanded to include 3 retail stores, a free summer outdoor movie festival and a second magazine, Enjoy South Valley Living in Visalia.

“We who worked at KMS loved it and would have continued working for Jamey forever,” says Michael. “That said, if Jamey had not sold KMS, Enjoy Magazine, Enjoy the Store and Movies in the Park would not be.”

His legacy in the North State lies in the unbreakable bonds he built between people. “He was an incredibly disciplined man who had an amazing amount of drive and enthusiasm,” Yvonne says. “One thing I loved about him is if he felt someone was intimidated by him, he would take the time to reach out to them. He would crack a joke or tease them or take them for a ride in one of his race cars, always with a huge, pearly white smile. What I see that my husband and sons got from Jamey is making people around them feel like they matter. I also feel my husband and sons have a sense of honor for family, and that was Jamey. The entrepreneurial spirit is something they got from him too; the ideas for Enjoy, Enjoy the Store and Movies in the Park all originated with James.”

In Print, Life+Leisure
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