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SPOTLIGHT: Know It Or Not, The Rocco’s Are Saving You Money

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Staff Writer

36-year Goshen residents Joe and Joanne Rocco started their trash removal business over 30 years ago in Waterbury, cleaning out basements, attics and garages. Joe was a Waterbury firefighter at the time, and his 3 days on/3 days off work schedule gave him the flexibility to begin the business as a side job. Their only equipment at that time was a Ford F250 pickup truck, which had a dump body.  

After completing his first project, cleaning out a trailer home for a disabled person, Joe saw the potential of a business based on cleaning. He put an ad in the Waterbury Republican and soon began getting calls. His reputation for good work and reasonable prices spread quickly and the calls just kept coming. Soon Joanne, who was raising their six children, found herself answering phones and relaying messages to Joe by beeper. He would then have to find a payphone to return the calls. Communication got easier when Joe got his first, big, boxy cellphone.

Joe recalls working a night shift for the Fire Department, fighting a fire at 2 AM, and then while everyone else was going home exhausted, he was going to start his workday at the rubbish removal company. When asked where he got that ambition, Joe said he was just born that way.

Around 2000, the business expanded to provide construction site dumpsters.  A competitor, who sold him a used truck “set me up”, Joe said, because the truck was incapable of lifting full dumpsters. He had to first partially unload by hand before putting refuse into another truck. In 2002 he was able to purchase a new truck and that provided an opportunity to make the business grow.

At roughly the same time, Joe suffered an injury during a fire in Waterbury. A stairway collapse resulted in damage to two discs in his back and neck. He didn’t want to take disability, he wanted to keep working. Having more than 20 years of service in the Fire Department he chose to decline disability, retire, and absorb the medical costs personally.

The next expansion involved offering weekly curbside trash pickup in Watertown and Middlebury in 2012. Though it was hardly a smooth transition, it put him in a position to move into the Goshen market when lack of competition drove prices up, leaving many disgruntled Goshen residents searching for an alternative.

For Goshenites, even if you’re not doing business with Rocco Carting for your weekly trash pickups, Joe and Joanne Rocco have saved you money. Around 2022,  Albreada Refuse, the last competitor to the large regional hauler, USA Waste & Recycling, was acquired by USA. Prices for residential pickups rose sharply. Enter Rocco Carting, offering service at prices slightly below those in effect before USA achieved their short-lived monopoly. USA then cut their announced price increases in response, saving all Goshen customers money they would not have saved if Rocco hadn’t entered the market.

Regarding market monopoly, “It’s not just Goshen”, Joe Rocco told The Goshen News. “It’s Goshen, Litchfield, Watertown, Oakville, Morris, Bantam…” Joanne then added that Watertown has a second service provider, IWF. Rocco currently has an additional new truck on order and recently began offering service in Litchfield, adding it to their Goshen, Watertown, and Oakville service areas.

What does the future hold for the Rocco’s?

“Retirement”, Joanne answered, while Joe shook his head just a little. Two of their sons, Andrew and Joe, Jr., are involved in the business. “Andrew and Joey are taking it over, so we’re building it up for them”, she said, “and we’ll hand it over when we’re ready to retire”.