Michelle Costanzo: The Gift of Family

by | Apr 2024

TIME COULDN’T pass any slower. Hope cracked open a door in 1996 when an Arizona liaison located Michelle Costanzo’s birth mother in Pennsylvania. But when her response finally arrived, it appeared to close the door instead of throwing it wide open. The response closed her mom’s heart and the file that would have allowed Costanzo further contact with her or her three biological half-sisters. Instead, she could now complete a medical history from her mother’s side of the family and knew the most basic information about the woman who gave her life. 

Costanzo’s adoptive parents, though, gave her a life and strong foundation and never withheld from her that she was adopted. Grateful for their love and support, Costanzo answered the letter and enclosed a photo of her with her oldest and only child at the time, a son, and resigned herself to the likelihood of never connecting with her siblings. She also had little hope of ever finding her biological father. 

It was long before “Finding Your Roots” with Louis Gates, Jr. was a thing and DNA test kits were offered to the public. 

“In 2017, my husband, Jimmy, bought me the ancestry kit for Christmas. My youngest son and I followed the instructions and sent it off. We were all hoping that my half-sisters would somehow be on the ancestry site, and that would be how we could connect,” Michelle said. 

The results were numerous. With Michelle’s hopes dashed on her father’s side, she expected any connection to those listed would be through her mother. 

“I started to send messages to the closest matches to see how we could be connected, and, lo and behold, one girl took an interest in me, where I was located, and my story,” Michelle said. “She messaged me something along the lines of, ‘I don’t think we are connected via bio mom; I think this is bio dad. Let me do some digging and asking around, and I’ll be in touch.’ I basically hung it up because there was no way I would find out anything about my bio dad!” 

But there was a way. Once again, the ancestry.com test kit provided missing links; this time, she was met with open arms instead of a closed door. Two brothers and two sisters on her father’s side live in Tennessee. Her father, who died in 2017, lived in the Metro Phoenix area, 20 to 30 minutes away from her at any given time — so close, yet worlds away. 

She and her brother, Doug, spent two hours on the phone while he filled her in on her biological dad and his children. An Easter meet-and-greet over FaceTime with the whole family did more than complete her family tree; it eventually drew her to move to Fayetteville. 

“My husband booked us two tickets to Nashville from Phoenix in April 2018, and we spent an amazing weekend here in Fayetteville meeting them for the first time. They are the most amazing people — so accepting — and their arms were wide open with nothing but love and acceptance,” said Michelle. 

Fayetteville also watered their desert souls. Lincoln County’s rivers, creeks, and rich green landscape were as welcoming as its people and her new family. 

She said, “Your family and friends are nice, but strangers are exactly that — strangers. I’m not sure if it’s the small town or just a Tennessee thing, but people here are just nice and grateful.” 

Michelle and Jimmy moved to Houston in 2019, when he took a dream job as a helicopter pilot with a large corporation. But the pandemic arrived just after they did, leaving no margin for his position. He went back into business in Houston as a locksmith, his former trade in Phoenix, but they weren’t happy there. Tired of desert life, the couple easily decided in 2021 that a move to Fayetteville would be refreshing. 

Jimmy relocated his locksmith business here, and it wasn’t long before Revolt Locksmith took off. Specializing in auto keys, key fobs, remotes, safes, and commercial and residential locks, he has two vans on the road and someone in the office Monday through Friday. 

Later, when Jimmy asked Michelle what kind of work she’d like to do, she knew the answer after observing the community’s commitment to shopping locally. The post office provided the only shipping service. 

“Jimmy saw that the building at 929 Winchester Highway was for sale. He called the number, and it turns out that the owner of that building was good friends with my half-sister, Farley,” said Michelle. “So, we bought the building for the Pack and Ship. There [is] so much space that Jimmy [has] a little lock shop and plenty of parking inside for his locksmith van.” 

Revolt Pack and Ship offers shipping with FedEx, UPS, and USPS. They have physical and virtual mailboxes, notary services, faxing, photocopying, scanning, emailing, packing and shipping, freight services, and space for drop-off and pick-up with lift gate services. Michelle hopes to add fingerprinting services soon. Retail services are also available. 

“My main goal is to be the one-stop shop for hard-to-find gifts. I’m working on adding more retail as time progresses. We are dabbling in a bit of retail — candy, soaps, candles, bags, funky socks, kitchen towels, quirky air fresheners, magnets, boxes, moving materials, packing materials, and more. Business is good, but business will be great [when] more people hear about us. We love being here for the people of Fayetteville and Lincoln County,” she said. 

With an emphasis on customer service, Michelle believes in treating everyone as you’d like to be treated — with dignity and grace. Greeting every customer with a smile and handling them with patience, she repays what she’s found in Lincoln County. 

She said, “No one in this town makes you feel like a stranger.” 

Michelle found family and community here. The door is always open. GN 

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