How did your business start?
We ran a pizza chain in Hollywood, Calif., for 10 years and moved out to Colorado seven years ago. I (Lilly) previously worked for UPS, and my husband still works for Coca-Cola here in the valley. My husband was very encouraging and always pushing me to start making pizza again. I would tell him it will be too hard, we can’t do it again, but he was so encouraging that we could do it, I just had to wait for the right time.
What do you sell?
We sell ice cream, homemade pizza and Mexican food. Two of our specials and big sellers are the La Picosa and the Mexican pizza. The La Picosa is made with pepperoni, chorizo, carne asada, jalapeños, cilantro and pico de gallo. We have customers with allergies to tomatoes, so the Mexican pizza is the way to go, with refried beans (instead of tomato sauce), bacon, chorizo, onions, jalapeños and cheese. We also offer breakfast burritos all day. Traditional and Mexican-American dishes such as super fries as well as a lot of customers requesting our “Super Fries Burrito.”
What positive lessons did you learn during the recession?
No matter how bad the recession is you need to always keep doing what you love and to keep persisting through it all. We had saved so much to start another business once we moved to the valley, and then our oven goes out. I couldn’t get discouraged, I wanted to do what I love and that’s cooking and feeding my family and friends.
What strategy do you use to hire good people?
We have three cooks plus my husband and myself. One of the cooks has worked at restaurants her whole life, and the other two cooks used to work at the restaurant that was in the building previously. Plus it doesn’t hurt getting to work next to my husband. Only my husband and I know the pizza dough recipe, but we will be bringing a family member from California that has been cooking pizza for more than 13 years. I guess keeping it all in the family is our strategy.
What is your strategy for growth in the next year?
Main thing is promoting our pizza more. We make it fresh daily and love making pizza. We get asked a lot if it is frozen or delivered to us. No, it is not. We make it fresh every day. If myself or my husband isn’t at the business, it isn’t available, that is why we are bringing his brother-in-law from California to come help us in making pizza.
What is the best thing about running a business here?
The people are the best thing about running a business here. I thought being in a small town you knew everybody but even today, I meet so many new people. I go to the grocery store and I’ll hear, “Hey, Lilly, I love your pizza!” I love hearing from happy customers. I think I meet more of my sons friends and teachers here than when I went to his school.