When the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, married couple “Zito” and Christin Zito were trying to figure out next steps. Zito, who spent the past 20 years on the road most recently serving as production manager for Steve Aoki, and Christin, a celebrity hair and makeup stylist, weren’t sure what to do.
On Easter Sunday the couple was planning a cheat meal for their diet and Zito had a sourdough starter already made. While brainstorming what to make with it, they settled on sourdough cinnamon rolls. Having previously baked sourdough bread during Covid-19, the Zitos immediately knew there was something special about the sourdough cinnamon rolls. When Christin posted a photo on Instagram of their cheat meal, the outpouring of comments from people wanting a roll for themselves got them thinking. Soon, the couple began selling cinnamon rolls in their subdivision in Tennessee and the first weekend they sold 63 rolls, the following weekend 83 and by the third weekend they baked and sold over 120 sourdough cinnamon rolls.
“By the fourth week we had over 200 orders,” Zito tells me. “[I thought] ‘OK, I think we’re onto something here.’ So how can we scale it? How can we grow it? And how can we move it towards a business that can sustain us during this time?”
Logistically minded, his day job as a production manager for the past 21 years had Zito responsible for all aspects of a touring show including hiring the lighting and sound team, video crew and trucking. Zito then took these organizational skills into the kitchen. Zito’s logistics know-how combined with Christin’s expertise with a social media management company she launched during the pandemic had the pair merging their strengths to form Rock N Rollz Nashville.
“It was the perfect marriage. As [the company] grew, it told us what needed to happen for the business,” Christin says. “At the time we were just week by week, trying to figure it out.”
Since the end of May, the Zitos have made 14,300 rolls and now average orders of 1400 rolls a week. Every sourdough cinnamon roll is rolled by hand and hand frosted with salted vanilla buttercream, the very same frosting the couple made for themselves on Easter Sunday.
For every roll purchased, 50 cents goes to MusiCares, a non-profit that helps music industry professionals in times of need. The decision to give back to the music community was made early on in the formation of Rock N Rollz Nashville as the Zitos explain that