Peppino’s Pizza

Peppino’s Pizza

January 2014

Small business owners Mike and Paula Raymond opened their doors to customers as franchisees of Peppino’s Pizza in 2004. The Peppino’s franchise started in 1976, when Carlo DiLeonardo opened the first Peppino’s Pizzeria in Standale, MI. A second pizzeria was opened in Allendale in 1980. Expansion continued, and there are now eleven Peppino’s in West Michigan.  Carlo DiLeonardo’s son, Joe DiLeonardo owns the franchise side of the company. Some restaurants are owned by relatives and others franchised.  Since Mike and Paula opened their doors in 2004 their business has continued to grow with annual sales approaching half a million dollars.  The Raymond’s franchise success brought them back into the offices of the Small Business & Technology Development Center (Michigan SBTDC) to help in their future ventures.

Peppinos-Group-Picture“People told us we wouldn’t make it, but the phones were ringing before we even opened the doors for business,” states Mike, who passionately believed his business idea would be a success. What once was a small business perceived as an underdog has continued to grow and has ranked high in sales, which was recognized by the Western Michigan Family Run Franchise.

Through reading business journal articles about successful small businesses that either partnered or utilized their local Michigan SBTDC office Mike was motivated to look into his local resources.   “Start small and work up with any business,” stated Mike.  With this in mind, he and his wife met with David Sayers, Senior Business Consultant with the Michigan SBTDC Region 7 office.  David Sayers assisted with critiquing and revising their financials and analyzing cash flow projections. “When you play a sport you rely on a team,” this was Mike’s feeling about the mentoring partnership he has experienced with the Michigan SBTDC.  “David provided us with the confidence we needed to make our business a success,” stated Mike.

Peppino-PictureMike Raymond made a promising decision by choosing to be located in the heart of Heritage Hill in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He wanted his 20 seat restaurant to have a cozy coffee shop feel, and he wanted to be located in or near the downtown area.  Mike said, “If I was going to fish were would I fish?”  A question like this is commonly asked when deciding where to locate a business.  The SBTDC was very influential in Mike’s decision-making process. The SBTDC provided demographic mapping through the market research department located at the Michigan SBTDC state headquarters at Grand Valley State University.

Peppino’s Pizza is surrounded by other businesses such as: doctor’s and law offices, as well as the local fire station. This combined with a dense population area, contributed to his gut decision on choosing the location. The success of Peppino’s Pizza has prompted the Raymond’s to start thinking about expanding the existing space or moving to a larger facility. This is the current challenge the business owners are faced with and they are once again meeting with business consultant David Sayers to assist them with ways of acquiring financing to move forward with their business plan for expansion.

There is one more element that has made Peppino’s Pizza a success, the food!  “Peppino’s Spicy Supreme Pizza is one of the items that customers love,” stated Mike. He continued, “Our food is always fresh the sausage, pizza sauce, dough and salads are made in-house daily. Using fresh vegetables and ingredients makes a big difference on how the food looks and tastes. Food is like a work of art, you eat with your eyes first.”

If you would like to try out Peppino’s Spicy Supreme Pizza, or other notable items, the restaurant is located at 340 State Street S.E. Grand Rapids, MI.