Srecko (“Srech-ko”) Kramberger has been delivering pizza to South Lake Union for almost as long as some new employees at Amazon have been alive. In that time he’s seen the low-rise stretch of warehouses and auto dealers transformed into a bustling high-tech hub of shiny new buildings.
“It’s funny, you drive the streets for 20 years and can’t even remember what they were like before,” Srecko says. “Buildings just disappear. You don’t even see the change, it’s such a smooth transition. A building goes down, protective walls go up, and soon a new building is up in its place.”
What he does remember is that the traffic has gotten much worse and the people ordering from downtown have gotten both more numerous and younger.
When Srecko was younger, 20 years to be precise, his stepmother, then a General Manager for Pagliacci, suggested he apply for a job. Jeff Woodruff, now Pagliacci’s Vice-President of Operations, hired Srecko to work in West Seattle. “He had a massive crush on Meg Ryan,” Jeff laughs. “He’s one of the best drivers I’ve worked with, always hard working and principled.”
Sticking with the theme, Field Manager Brandon Steele says, “Probably the hardest working driver I’ve ever worked with.”
“He hides a big heart behind a tough facade,” says Sasha Mitronovas, Pagliacci’s Driver Manager. “In addition to his dedication to customer service, he uses his experience to be an effective advocate for other delivery drivers.”
For the last 19 years, Srecko has worked out of Pagliacci’s Valley store, located on Aurora Avenue at the base of South Queen Anne hill. “Srecko is all about the customer,” says Luis Bibiano-Lopez, General Manager of the Valley store. “He always checks the pizza before leaving to be sure it’s right. Once he came to me pointing out that a large pepperoni pizza was short five slices of pepperoni. It had 45, not 50, as it should. I really appreciate his attention to detail.”
Srecko means lucky in Slovenian. And when delivering in congested South Lake Union, you need some luck. “Parking is very difficult. I try to pay before 8 p.m. Bigger orders are going to take about 15 minutes for delivery.” Sometimes luck fails him. “Parking tickets come in bunches, none for a year, then three in one week. One of those things.”
Since he began driving for Pagliacci, Srecko has gone through seven cars. He loves Volkswagen Jettas but recently sold his when his first child, a daughter, was born. “Right now I have a special vehicle, a Fiat 500, the little car. It’s a great delivery vehicle, you can fit into any parking spot. It can also hold 30 pizzas if necessary.”
When not darting in and out of traffic, Srecko can often be found sailing on Lake Union on his 24-foot sailboat. Each year he takes a week of vacation and sails up to Orcas Island. When his wife announced she was pregnant the first thing Srecko wondered was how to mount a car seat on a sailboat. “My dream is to get a bigger boat one day and sail across the Atlantic,” he says. “But now, with the baby, that will have to wait.”
Srecko’s favorite part of his job is the many regular customers he delivers to. “After a while they are like friends,” he says. “Sometimes I joke at the intercom, saying ‘Domino’s.’ They say, ‘What, I never order from Domino’s.’ They’ve been customers for so long we’ve become friends.”