Meet Rufino Pato! Rufino is the owner of 2 businesses located in Clarkesville: A to Zinc and Sweet Releaf. A to Zinc will celebrate their 4 year anniversary of being open on May 11. If you’re looking for a place to relax, enjoy a smoothie, gather organic goods, or check out the latest vitamins and supplements, A to Zinc is the spot to visit. Sweet Releaf is the newest store Rufino has opened. Located just off the square in Clarkesville, this is the first hemp and CBD store in the county.
Rufino is originally from California and came to the area in 2007. He and his wife Tracy has been married for 10 years. They have a daughter named Hailey who is 16 years old. They currently reside in White County.
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: “I wanted to open a store that provided quality products to people. The store is open everyday and provides all types of health products from organic cleaning supplies, organic breads, grass fed meats, detox foot baths, smoothies, and we also have classes to educate the community. People can also just come in and hang out. We are really involved in helping other businesses in the community too.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Habersham County?
A: “John Preece. He was the director of Fiddler on the Roof and Oliver at the theater. I was in both productions and he pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me do things I had never done before on stage.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Habersham County and what do you love there?
A: “Ruen Thai-anything with curry”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
A: “Sicily- I am 1/2 Sicilian and 1/2 Spanish. I have family that live there I have never met before and would like to meet them.”
Q: What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: “Star Wars”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “Be a leader not a follower. Do what you want and not what others say you can’t do. Push yourself and get out of your comfort zone.”
Q: What is your favorite thing about Habersham County?
A: “The small town atmosphere and feeling. I love going to the store and seeing other people I know.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: “Still helping people either by opening more stores or online with social media or blogs.”
Q: What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “I sing and act. I have a rubber and glass duck collection”
Q: What 3 words mean “Home” to you?
A: “Fishing, family, friends, and God”