Giuseppe’s Steel City Pizza
Port Orange, Florida
My concept is nothing new just something that’s been long forgotten to most of my generation and the generation before me even. For 40 years our goal as a business was to create a place that was so ingrained in the community it occupied that we needed it as much as it needed us. We wanted to build a place that not only reflected the place we came from, downtown Pittsburgh, but also the direction we are going — bigger, better and more accommodating for our customers. I wanted to build a place that pays respect to an old industrial factory building yet incorporating modern elements; a place where all walks of life can enjoy. I also try to give my customers the best Pittsburgh-style pizza I can here in Florida. I’ve always prided myself in saying “I don’t care how they do it in Chicago and New York, I want to give you what we do best — a hand-tossed, slightly thicker than New York pizza with a crispy yet foldable bottom with the perfect ratio of sauce to cheese to toppings.” It’s the way my dad’s bosses taught him, the way my dad showed me and the way I hope to teach my kids.
My old building was never designed to do more than a few hundred thousand dollars a year out of the kitchen and dining and we managed to consistently crank $2.2 million out of the 4,000 square feet we occupied, so space was a big reason. But the bigger reason was for the future — my financial future, my children’s financial future, my customers and community’s future, and for the future dream and direction that I want to move Giuseppe’s Steel City Pizza in. I wanted a flagship store that I can hold all of my next stores to. I want to show the industry what a pizza shop can truly be.
The new building itself will total out at just under 11,000 square feet once the interior buildout of the second story and roof deck are done. We currently occupy 8,400 square feet of the first story. All in all, it’s taken me a total of three years to pull this off. The building itself took us right at one year to build with two years of planning leading up to it and was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever had to endure. The end result is everything that I hoped it would be, but it wasn’t without a ton of headache, heart ache, and sleepless nights. Don’t get me wrong though I’d do it all again in a heartbeat, and plan to in the next year. This building has been the best, yet most expensive, education I’ve ever paid for. The design ideas, ins and outs to cooperating with the city, and being able to spot subcontractors that only want to reach in your pocket and not deliver is worth its weight in pizza dough. The first building cost me way more than it should have but the education was worth the price.
The last six months have been a bit of a blur, but everything has never been better. Our gas usage has doubled but our payment stayed the same, our electric bill dropped thanks to everything being so energy efficient, and we created 32 new jobs in the community bringing us to 92 employees. Business has literally doubled and our customers, new and old, love our new place. It makes everything worth it when a customer of 40 years says, “You guys finally got the building you’ve killed yourselves all these years for. You deserve it!”