It is always heartwarming to hear stories about fathers expressing love for their children, especially around Father’s Day.
Stories like that of Ray Jaber, who started up his own business and named it after his daughter, Mia.
“Mia is my first daughter, my first kid actually, my first and only kid,” said Ray. “She is my everything.”
Ray, along with his wife Suzy, owns and operates Mia’s Pizzeria in Blackfalds. They opened shop in town about three years ago so that they make a living while still spending time together as a family.
Ray said he wanted to name the restaurant after Mia to show how much his daughter meant to him. Suzy added that Mia’s Pizzeria is a good sounding name and rolls off the tongue quite nicely.
It was actually because of Mia that Ray decided to start the business, he said. Before opening up Mia’s Pizzeria, Ray was an oilfield worker who spent much of his time away from home and away from his family.
When Mia was born and started growing up, Ray felt he missed out on a lot of that experience of being a father. So, when Mia was about a year old, he decided to open up a restaurant in Blackfalds so that he could work closer to home.
Ray had previous experience working in restaurants and Suzy’s parents have owned a restaurant for the past 35 years.
Ray said he had thought about starting his own business for a while before Mia came along. When he and Suzy decided it was time to act on that plan, a restaurant seemed like a good fit for a family-run business.
When they first opened the business in 2010, things were tough for Ray and Suzy.
They both put in long hours and often were open a full day without getting any business at all.
Now, running Mia’s Pizzeria is still hard work, but things are better. Ray said the restaurant has built up a strong customer base in Blackfalds and Lacombe as well.
Running a restaurant is a full-time gig, but worth it. While Ray and Suzy spend most of their time together working, it is still time they get to spend together, said Suzy. Ray added it is easier for him to be with his family working than to have to leave them to work and miss out on important things like Mia growing up.
“It is beneficial, having your own business,” said Suzy “There are pros and cons, but we don’t regret it. We know it is hard work.”
As for four-year-old Mia, she seems to quite like the idea of having a restaurant named after her. Her parents added that it being ‘Mia’s restaurant’ is added incentive for them to do a good job with the place.