Who is XOZIO?

XOZIO is a family owned company whose unique perspective comes from our mixed heritage and life experiences. XOZIO is Derek De laPaz, Natalie De laPaz, Susan & Arlie Christianson.All four of us with our own culinary & life journeys brings a Kaleidoscope of perspectives & opinions to XOZIO.

We are located in the captivating city of Chattanooga, TN. Chattanooga is surrounded by mountains and sits along the Tennessee river. As lovers of nature this area is hard to beat with its hiking,kayaking,mountain biking, & bird watching. In addition to outdoor activities year round, Chattanooga has an impressive art community and an energetic and inspired food scene. This city is friendly & welcoming, and we feel lucky to put down roots here.

As a family, yet on different timelines, we all moved south from the cold north of Minnesota. The first was Derek who relocated to Tennessee for his job. A few months later Natalie settled in Atlanta, GA for work and family. This was the push Susan and Arlie needed to finally decide on a warmer place to retire. Almost a year after Derek Susan & Arlie moved to Chattanooga.

We are excited to join the community in Chattanooga being a new small business, and can't wait to build strong relationships here. Coffee is very special to us and our hope is to create connections among people,products and places through everyday experiences that enrich our lives. We thank you for choosing XOZIO. To all who contribute or support us, you share in our success and are a part of our community. Without you all there would be no us.

Thank you for Choosing Xozio

Arlie Christianson


Born and raised in near Eau Claire, Wisconsin, I Graduated from Memorial High School in Eau Claire. After graduation I went into the Air Force for 4 years and was stationed in Florida, but during that time I spent 1.5 years in Diyarbarkir Turkey monitoring radar.  After my time in the air force I  married and returned to Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  I worked in my dad’s machine shop for a stint & then began my career in the railroad industry as a mechanic. I  went on to be a supervisor of a mechanical department in St. Paul, Mn.  In the mid 90’s the recession hit. Rather than a transfer to Chicago which would have uprooted my family, I decided to be laid off. Living in Hudson, WI I decided to start my own machine shop and after a year I returned to the railroad in a new role. Working as a conductor and then moving to engineer.  My machine shop became more of a hobby where I primarily tooled and maintained surgical equipment for local orthopedic surgeons. I retired from the railroad after 35 years of service and anyone who has worked in the railroad knows that is a long life on trains. 

I will always have fond memories of the summer I spent with my dad driving across the country for Mayflower trucking. My dad also had his private pilot’s license and he would take me flying and once in a while & on a good day he would  let me fly his plane.

I  enjoy spending my free time gardening and taking care of the lawn, just being outside in the warmer months. Every summer I plant a small vegetable garden with  tomatoes, cucumbers and a few other veggies. I still like to tinker with old cars and anything I can fix on newer models. 

My favorite comfort meal is a good burger with french fries & I drink my coffee black. 

Derek De laPaz

XOZIO Owner & Roaster

I am Derek Delapaz and I'm the coffee brain behind Xozio Coffee & Provisions. I was born in Los Angeles, CA in the 70’s & as a child I was overly curious, creative, and questioning. These personality traits would stick with me and help define my life as I grew. We moved to Minnesota from California when I was five. Growing up in Minnesota with my mothers family would also set me up to be the oddball culinary artist that I became. My Grandma's kitchen being a heavy culinary influence and my grandfather's rigid expectations and control of us children greatly impacted my work ethic but also added to feelings of not being enough or of fitting in. 

Raised by a single mom, she gave so much so that my sister and I could have what we needed. Her sacrifice impacted us both, we grew up strong of will, determined, fast, and with a deep commitment to each other.  We also learned to survive and grow in a harsh and sometimes dangerous world. I will always owe so much to my mother for taking care of me and raising me to be the person I am. It wasn't easy for her, Thanks Mom!!! 

At a very early age I had strong & sometimes strange food cravings. This I'm sure made my mom crazy. I could be impossible to please, so I would go to bed hungry, as I refused to eat the prepared dinner because it wasn't what I wanted. This quickly morphed into a personal drive to understand and create the foods I loved. The more food/cuisine I was exposed to the more I needed to learn. I was a young sponge of culinary knowledge. I was creating my own internal encyclopedia of foods, flavors, ingredients, dishes, experience, and recipes. In 3rd grade I created my first recipe for my favorite dish at the time - Pepper Steak. It went into our class cookbook that we gave our parents. My mom still has hers and uses the recipe to this day. During this phase I also had another more important hobby-American Football (I was a running back). So my culinary career would slow burn until I turned 15 and got a job at the local bakery. Angie Hart owned the bakery in Hudson, WI & I loved that place!!! It was my first real food job and I knew immediately that I wanted to learn as much about this thing as I could. So my culinary trajectory had begun and it would take me all the way from bakery/kitchens in Wisconsin to fine dining establishments in Napa Valley, CA to roasting coffee on a 1 bag machine at Peace Coffee to visiting coffee farms in Ethiopia and eventually opening XOZIO in Chattanooga, TN. 

What a crazy and lovely culinary journey! But I get ahead of myself. 

Mama Marias, an Italian restaurant in North Hudson changed things for me on this path. It was one of my best jobs ever! The owner worked as a line cook on Friday and Saturday. He built an amazing team and restaurant. He also cared about all his employees in a deeper, more meaningful way than I had ever seen. So much of what I'm trying to build is a replication of Mama's culture. We had company camping weekends (with an all night sweat lodge), quarterly company parties (family's invited), and of course the snow and rain annual tackle football games. The owner made sure we all knew we were valued and cared about. Thank you Gary and everyone at Mama's! Mama's gave me the confidence to follow my dream of becoming a CHEF.  I applied and was accepted to Culinary School in Napa Valley. 

Culinary school in Napa valley and living in Sonoma county was an amazing time for me. I learned so much! I met a lot of amazing people and of course amazing Chefs. For me it was the total submersion of living and working in the Wine country of Northern California. Everywhere at any given time there would be food and wine experiences to partake in. Participating in only a fraction of these experiences I expanded my knowledge of everything you put in your mouth for consumption.  I watched Master Chef Paul Bocuse break down a chicken with a 8" chef knife (as I would in culinary school and get in trouble for not using my boning knife) for Coq Au Vin. I was a line cook at Napa Valley Grille in Yountville, we would do 350 covers on a saturday under Chef Bob Hurley and sous Chef Bernardo Ayala. Bernardo had that kitchen running at the highest efficiency I've ever seen in any production environment. I was honored during my time in Napa to work a dinner party as the assistant to Michael Chiarello, it was fun and highly educational! I also was lucky enough to attend the last dinner at Chef Jan Birnbaums Catahoula in Calistoga. He sat with us after dinner service, four young Chefs (one who worked for him, Gabe) and talked. When Robert Redford approached our table to thank him, Jan stayed sitting with us, shook his hand & went right back to telling us kitchen stories. I had so many epic culinary experiences during this time I should write a book about it. I eventually graduated Culinary School and became a Napa Valley Grille executive Chef,I had accomplished one of my early life goals.  Eventually that led me to leaving kitchens for a break, it was then I fell into coffee. This was for what I thought would be a couple years until I went back to kitchens and then would open my own restaurant,but it never happened. 

Coffee was first really introduced to me at Mama Marias. They had an espresso machine and they did cold brew Toddy (in 1993). My coffee life didn't take off really until on my break from kitchens when I took an assistant manager job at Starbucks. It was rapid fire coffee knowledge and starbucks culture. I learned a lot and again never felt like I fit in. So after many different stores, I decided to leave and move back to the midwest, Minneapolis to be specific. Hopefully to get back to being a Chef and opening a restaurant. Again that didn’t happen, but I would instead become a coffee roaster. And in coffee so much more. 

Moving back to Minneapolis, MN had a life changing opportunity in wait. I had never thought about or even considered coffee roasting as a job. It was 2006, so third wave coffee was just starting. Coffee roasting jobs were obscure and super rare. My sister was trying to help find me a job as I packed and prepped to leave California. She sent my application to a Minneapolis Coffee company that was hiring a production coffee roaster. They actually wanted to interview me, and by the third interview I was starting to look into this odd job-coffee roasting. This obscure opportunity at this time might have been the most important piece of my life trajectory. It began the coffee phase of my life that I am still in today. I would never have been able to be here without Mel, Anna, and Ryan (my hiring committee) recognizing something special about me and hiring me as a production coffee roaster. It's crazy for me to go into my mind's eye and see the four of us in that interview room with my future so laid out for me. Peace was a magical time of coffee, coworkers, learning, growing, RG retreats, certifications, teaching, traveling, and creating yummy roasting profiles. I will always feel very lucky to have been there and done that with those people!!! 

Co-op Coffee's crew was also an amazing group of individuals that cared immensely for coffee, each other, and the planet. I am so proud to have been raised in Coffee by these folks. It was the foundation I needed to become my own coffee person. I also made many friends and colleagues through my trips to origin sourcing green coffee. My first coffee trip was to Ethiopia! It solidified my love of coffee and the people that produce it. It was also an amazing culinary adventure. I had the most amazing spaghetti bolognese in the town of Yirgacheffe on this trip. Every origin trip was amazing, each one seemingly my new favorite place until visiting another. After Ethiopia, was Nicaragua, then Brazil, and finally Sumatra (2x). These trips all left me changed for the better. I'll go into detail about these trips in our XOZIO Chatt coffee blog. After almost 12 years and going from being a production roaster in a roastery, roasting 400#'s a day, I became the head roaster and we were roasting 3,000#'s a day. Leaving Peace was hard for me, but I ended up staying in Minneapolis, for a couple more years & in coffee. 

Next was my time at Mill City, they manufactured and sold roasting machines. I was a hybrid sales person, coffee sourcer, coffee roaster, coffee educator, forklift driver, warehouse badass, and general “johnny on the spot”. Working with Joe Marrocco and becoming an experienced coffee educator were the highlights of this period. I also met so many amazing coffee students, helped a bunch of small coffee roasters get their businesses going, and created popular youtube roasting content. During this whole time I missed sourcing, developing, and roasting coffee as my main focus. I also felt like that was the area that I could give the most back to the community and be the most successful in coffee. Working for a roasting machine company I thought would be a perfect fit, but I was wrong. It was unfortunate, but had no bearing on my future dreams and plans. 

I then was off to be a Director of Coffee at an established Nashville coffee company- Barista Parlor. That was the real start to where I am today. I left Minnesota, &  moved to Tennessee. I was now roasting and sourcing coffee as my primary job (finally).  They had solid roasting equipment, one of my prerequisites, and excellent green coffee. I worked amazingly hard to fit in, understand the roast style, and create yummy roasted coffee's for them. My time in Nashville was filled with tasty coffee and meeting lots of amazing people. I realized I didn't want to stay in Nashville, since my sister had moved to Atlanta and my parents to Chattanooga, going a little further south was next.

Chattanooga with its mountains and rivers seems like a pretty epic place to live. Small business also seems to have a place in Chattanooga. After a few visits it was an easy decision to leave Nashville for Chattanooga. More importantly I began planning to open a small business in Chattanooga, a coffee roastery. That brings me to current. I'm in Chattanooga building XOZIO Coffee and Provisions, mine and my family's coffee company. 

Thank you to all who have taught, helped, and guided me through all of this. I wouldn't be here without the effort you gave to me. Much Love!!

My favorite comfort meal is chorizo "Chi-Mex" w/ eggs & fresh corn tortillas, and I drink my coffee black.

Natalie De laPAz


Bio Coming Soon.....

Susan Christianson


Born and raised in Minnesota. I graduated from Hopkins High School and went to college for my B.S. in Nursing from the U of Wisconsin: Eau Claire. I had a great nursing career that spanned 47 years. I was lucky to be involved in the first neonatal unit and the first high risk labor and delivery unit in the country.  I also was a nurse for the ear surgeon that along with his brother developed the cochlear implant. I won't forget assisting with that first surgery to place the implant,  and being present when the young woman heard for the first time and spoke words. Later in my career I went back to school to become certified in peri operative nursing. I then worked alongside orthopedic surgeons for many years assisting in surgery. I spent many hours perfecting my sutures (of which I received many compliments by patients). The last 3 years of my career I worked for a surgical eye group in Minneapolis. Finally retiring after 47 wonderful years.

My favorite hobby is baking and over the years I have gone from baking cakes for family birthdays to baking and decorating wedding cakes. I spend my freetime gardening, playing bridge and volunteering at a local food outreach organization in Chattanooga. I enjoy spending time at church and have found a nice community through church after moving to Chattanooga. 

I am grateful to my great niece, who urged me to get involved in trips to Honduras organized through our church in Minnesota. My first trip was in 2012, and I would provide general clinics to those in need. The area we visited there were many people who did not have regular access to basic medical clinics. It was a gift to be able to connect with people in that way and be of service.  I have been to Honduras 6 times and am hoping to go back again next summer.

My all time comfort food/meal  is a roasted leg of lamb & I drink my coffee with a splash of oat milk.