May 29, 2000
Eugene and Zita Mazzola are closing the Double ZZ to pursue their careers in the film industry.
Staff photo by Becky Nixon.
by Becky Nixon, staff reporter
Sometimes closing a business means retirement or non-productive years, but no one can say that for the owners of the Double ZZ in Woodinville.
Eugene and Zita Mazzola are closing their successful western wear and supply business after ten years to devote more time to their passion: making movies. Eugene is in film production and Zita is a production coordinator.
Eugene has worked in production on Little Buddha, Twin Peaks (the original pilot movie), and recently completed a Native American film with the 1999 Sundance Film Festival winner Director Randy Redroad. He started in Hollywood as a child actor, playing the pharaoh's (Yul Brynner) son in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments.
Eugene's first production, Joy Ride, was shot 30 years ago in Washington. He liked what he saw here so much that he and Zita moved here from California. Since that time, he has written a book and two screenplays, besides his film work.
Eugene is looking forward to more traveling and making movies. "A wonderful serendipity to this is I would love to develop films and produce," said Mazzola.
In 1985, Eugene helped his wife, Zita, into the business. She became a production coordinator, taking care of administration. Her first stint in movies was as production assistant for a Budweiser commercial.
Zita recently worked on an episode of The Drew Carey Show (the Cleveland Browns' new stadium episode), but the movie she is most proud of is her recent job as production coordinator for Mission Impossible II, shot in Los Angeles with actor Tom Cruise.
Though the couple is looking forward to having more time for movie making, closing the business is somber. In five years, the customer database has grown from zero to almost 10,000, and those ten thousand customers have become family to the Mazzolas.
"I have learned a lot about community and people," said Mazzola. "In five years, I have had only two uncollectable checks. That is unheard of. The western customer is a unique customer. The store became their store. We enjoyed all the births (horses and children), marriages, and just their lives."
While the bright lights of California might have lured them from their business, the Mazzola home will remain in the Hollywood Hill area of Woodinville.